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Public budget meeting for local businesses

York city council

12:01am 16th January 2012

City of York Council is reminding local businesses that they can help shape the authority's 2012-14 budget at an event today (Monday 16th January).

The council has already held a public drop-in session at the Mansion House and an event for the voluntary sector, to gauge their views on the authority's budget priorities for the next two years.

Businesses are being invited to the event at York St. John University, the De Grey Lecture Theatre (DG017) from 6pm to 8:30pm on 16 January. The event will include opening remarks from the council's Labour Leader, Councillor James Alexander, and a presentation on the council's budget position from Kersten England, the council's Chief Executive. This will be followed by an open Question and Answer session where any issues or concerns relating to the budget can be raised and debated.

The event will also include more information and an opportunity to input to the council's plans to work more effectively with local businesses.  As part of a new initiative to become a more 'business-friendly council', the authority will be asking local business leaders for their views on how it can work better with business - including through simpler and more effective procurement procedures and through more coordinated information about business support services on offer in the city.

Councillor Julie Gunnell, Cabinet member for Corporate Services, said:

"It's vitally important that local businesses, residents and voluntary organisations have the opportunity to tell us how they would like us to spend their money, particularly given the difficult financial situation the council is facing.

"We are in the second year of a four-year government funding allocation, which will see a reduction in Local Government spending by over 28 per cent, and is nationally recognised as the most challenging budget round of a generation.

"We are working hard to deliver £22m of savings over the next two years, but like many other local authorities across the country, we're also experiencing unavoidable pressures, such as an ageing population, increasing numbers of children under the council's care and increasing fuel prices. With the current government funding system as it is, it will not be possible to maintain all current services."

Residents can also try their hand at budgeting through an online budget evaluation tool called 'You Choose'. The survey provides a breakdown of exactly where the council's monies are spent at the moment and then asks residents to tackle the difficult balancing act of cutting millions of pounds from the budget and keeping increases to council tax low, while protecting vital services.

The responses to the survey will help the council understand what services are most important to residents and where they would be most willing to see savings made. The survey is available online at www.youchoose.yougov.com/York

To register to attend the business event please email mari.richards@york.gov.uk.

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