Portsmouth residents asked: ‘What shall we spend your money on?’

TELL us how we should spend your money, that was the message of Portsmouth councillors at public budget consultations.

More than 2,000 members of the public have so far given their opinions via questionnaires that were made available at several meet and greets across the city, as well as on the council's website this month.

Councillors were positive about feedback they had received detailing what council services were most highly valued and how residents would allocate money if there should be a council tax increase.

Speaking at the final public event held at Tesco Extra in Fratton, housing boss Cllr Darren Sanders said: 'People are happy they're being asked about this. They like that we are coming to them and being open. We've heard some great ideas about what the council can do.'

The breakdown of council finances was explained as if its controllable spending was £100. In this analogy health, wellbeing and social care amounted the most at £33, whereas education and housing cost £4 and £2 respectively. Children's services totalled the second highest amount at £14.

Head of education Cllr Suzy Horton said: 'A very small number of children cost the council millions, but it's right that they should.

'Many people are interested what impacts people in their day to day life like bins and parking. And I don't think we should underestimate how serious that is.'

Cllr Sanders added: 'We spend a lot of money on things that matter to a relatively small number of people. But the public know that it's important our young and old people are protected.'

Some residents were able to share their concerns. Somers Town resident Valerie Hamshere, 82, was worried about transport. 'It is useful to know this,' she said.

'I did say the increase in council tax should be as little as possible. I think many pensioners find it difficult to pay it.

'I also don't agree with the recent cuts to buses. So the transport budget has affected me personally.

'But on the positive side I live in a high rise residents' block and I am pleased with the care the council applies to it.'

Due to reductions in the government grant Portsmouth City Council needs to save another £12m from its revenue budget. 

The online consultation is available until October 28 on the council's website.