Can you balance the books? It sounds like a variation on Fantasy Football or a new TV game show, but the council is serious – have your say on Edinburgh’s Budget …
With four months to go before the Capital’s 2015/16 budget is set, the City of Edinburgh Council has unveiled an innovative online tool to help encourage as many residents as possible to have their say on where money should be invested and saved in 2015/16 and beyond.
At a meeting of the Finance & Resources Committee earlier this week (Tuesday 30 September), councillors approved a report on the draft budget, along with a set of budget proposals for public consultation over the coming months.
The budget engagement period, which runs until 19 December 2014, begins today [Friday 3 October 2014] and is this year supplemented for the first time by an interactive online budget planner, the first time such a feature has been used by a major city in Scotland.
The budget planner, together with a short film on the Council’s website and YouTube channel, highlights the range of services the Council provides and the challenges it faces over the coming years in deciding which ones to prioritise against a backdrop of rising demand but flat or reducing resources.
Members of the public can take virtual control of the City’s finances by using the planner tool to decide how they would balance the budget, discovering how increasing spend in some areas would impact on other areas.
Councillor Alasdair Rankin, Finance Convener, said: “It is very important to us that we hear and respond to what the people of Edinburgh are saying. By publishing our draft budget proposals months in advance of the February deadline it gives the public an opportunity to tell us what services they want their Council to spend more on and to help us to shape them in a way that will improve the lives of all our city’s residents.
“This year we have introduced a number of new initiatives to make it even easier for people to tell us how the Council should spend its money. As a result, we are hoping that more of you let us know your views. It is important that people know that we are listening and responding to what they have to say.”
Councillor Bill Cook , Vice Convener, added: “We want you to be part of this process and we need you to put forward your views whether it is by using our online planner, phone, letter, email, social media, or other means. Everything you say will be considered as part of the budget process and this invaluable feedback will inform the final budget proposals we’ll be putting to the Council in February 2015.”
The full budget proposals, the budget planner and short film can all be accessed at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/budget
You can have your say by:
– completing the online budget planner to have your say on what services you would spend or save money on in 2015 to 2018
– commenting on the 2015/16 proposals
You can do this by:
• phone on 0131 200 2305 (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 3.40pm Friday)
• writing to us at Freepost, RSJC-SLXC-YTJY, Budget, Council Leader, City Chambers, High Street Edinburgh EH1 1YJ
- speaking to your local councillor