Friday, 23 August 2013

Council launches annual budget consultation exercise

People in Leeds will be able to give their views on how the city council should prioritise its spending by taking part in a new consultation exercise.

The council has today launched its annual consultation exercise which explains how the responses from more than 2,000 residents who took part last year shaped the current budget while it also looks forward to next year.

Last year’s budget consultation challenged those taking part to achieve savings of £40million as part of the council’s drive to achieve £200m of real-terms budget reductions in a three-year period to March 2014 due to grant cuts and increased cost pressures.

The new consultation reflects on the choices made last year, and asks those taking part if such decisions and priorities should remain the focus for the 2014/15 budget, where further savings of at least £36m due to government grant reductions will need to be made.

The results last year called for a focus on supporting child-related services and investing in funding support for families with children with special needs.

Adult social care was also indicated as an area of priority, with an additional £2.3m funding given to help older or vulnerable people stay in their own homes and live happier, longer and healthier lives.

Other areas of focus identified were on closer ties between services, increased recycling and kerbside food collections, maintaining community safety levels, investing in jobs and skills, improved housing management and more affordable housing.

Areas where savings could be made were in staffing levels, with the council spending £50m less on employees while protecting frontline services wherever possible, and reducing the number of council office buildings to cut property management costs by £6.2m.

This year’s consultation will ask if those areas are still right to focus on, or whether other areas should now become priorities such as investing in the city’s infrastructure or in a stronger cultural offer.

The consultation will run until the end of September and can be completed at www.leeds.gov.uk/budget. Those who would prefer to complete a paper version of the challenge can do so at any council-managed library or one-stop centre in the city.

The responses will form part of the council’s annual budget review and will be taken into account when the budget is finalised in February.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“This year’s budget consultation has two elements – showing people how they directly impacted on last year’s budget priorities, but also importantly asking 12 months on if they still feel the same way as to the areas the council should focus on.

“It is hugely important for as many people as possible to let us know their thoughts and what council services are most important to them. Again we face an incredibly difficult challenge in setting next year’s budget in the face of continued reductions in government grants, but a strong indication from the public of what we should do will give us a great start to that process.”

For more information on the council budget and ways to have your say visit www.leeds.gov.uk/budget

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Works to start on A639 to prevent future landslips

A ten week project to prevent landslips along the A639 in Stourton is starting next week.

Following a major landslip in 2007, Leeds City Council has been working to determine the cause, and subsequently design a suitable and safe long term solution to the subsidence along the A639, close to Valley Park Roundabout in Stourton.

The works will start on Tuesday 27 August, with work continuing on site for approximately 10 weeks.

To make the site safer, works will include adding a new drain to the carriageway, creating approximately 50m of green-slope retaining wall, and the full reconstruction of the nearside carriageway lane, adjacent to the new retaining structure. In addition to this, new lengths of safety barrier and landscaping & planting will complete scheme.

For the next two weeks, the drainage works will be completed under a contra-flow traffic management system with a heavy goods vehicle diversion in place. The land stabilisation works will then immediately follow under a single-lane closure, much like the existing traffic management in place.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development and the economy said:

“It is important that the council put in place measures to ensure the safety of motorists from future landslips in this area.

“After careful monitoring and investigation to ensure the ground has stabilised and movement has ceased, we have been able to progress designs, and are now at point where we can implement these.

“There may be some disruption to motorists over this ten week period, but I would ask people to be patient with us whilst this necessary work takes place.”


The final work, to provide a new carriageway surface and road markings, will take place at the end of the ten week period, and will be carried out under two localised night-time closures of the A639.


Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk