Have your say in this year’s Bedford Borough Council budget consultation

Cllr Graeme Coombes
Cllr Graeme Coombes, portfolio holder for finance, risk and welfare, Image: Bedford Conservative Group

Once again, Bedfordians have the chance to give their views on the council’s proposed budget for the coming year, in a public consultation that ends on 21 December.

You can take part in the consultation here.

The challenges faced by the council due to increasing demand for services, a rise in energy prices, inflation and uncertainty over central government funding are by no means unique to Bedford.

The Local Government Association has said that councils in England face a funding gap of almost £3 billion over the next two years just to keep services standing still and Bedford Borough Council has said it is grappling with a £11.4m budget gap.

In a statement, the council said: “As in recent years [we] will have to make difficult decisions to set the 2024-2025 budget. As challenging times and uncertain financial pressures continue, we will ensure resources and money are directed to those services most at need.

The public consultation focuses on the themes of a ‘one council’ approach to service delivery, managing demand better, effective contract management and commercialisation along with reviewing service offers.

Cllr Graeme Coombes, portfolio holder for finance, risk and welfare, said: “This budget remains steadfast in its commitment to our core priorities.

Clapham Cars

“We have an ambitious four-year plan to protect services, transform service quality, improve organisational and process efficiencies, realign resources to priorities and improve customer service – championing the needs of our 185,000 residents.

“This budget also looks ahead to position the council to address some of the most significant challenges confronting our borough and society at large.

“In particular, rising demand for statutory services like social care and homelessness support have added to the cost pressures faced by councils.

“Efficiency and value for money remain, therefore, firmly at the forefront of all our planning.”

The online consultation survey is currently active and will remain open until the end of Thursday, 21 December. Feedback will be gathered from various stakeholders, including councillors, trade unions, business representatives, and third-sector groups.

Completing the survey should take approximately 10 minutes. Each response will be thoroughly examined, and the findings will contribute to a report in February, forming part of the final budget papers.

Take part in the consultation at bedford.gov.uk/budget2024-25.

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