People are being reminded to have their say on budget proposals put forward by Dudley Council and back calls for “fair funding” for services.
Dudley Council has unveiled detailed proposals of how millions of pounds should be spent on public services over the next three years.
Council bosses are also asking people to back them after writing a cross-party letter to the government calling for a “fair deal for Dudley” when it comes to how money is allocated to the authority. It comes after the government announced plans to review the way it allocates money to local authorities.
People have a few weeks left to back the calls and have their say on the proposals before the council makes a decision next month (February).
Councillor Pete Lowe, cabinet member for finance, council sustainability and transformation, said:
We spend millions of pounds every year on services for local people, and it is vital that people have the opportunity to have their say on how that money is spent.
At the same time we have written to the government to highlight that we do not always get a fair deal when it comes to how money is allocated to us. That needs addressing to make sure we get a fair deal for Dudley."
Dudley has seen greater reductions in funding than many other authorities, with a 29 per cent real terms drop in spending power in Dudley since 2010, compared to just 15 per cent in Surrey, for example.
The letter to the government calls for more advance notice on how money is allocated to the authority to allow for better planning. It also asks for more consideration to be given to the particular spending needs of densely populated urban areas like Dudley as well as those of sparsely populated rural areas.
Dudley has kept its council tax low for many years, and has one of the lowest rates in the country. But this restricts how much money can be raised locally to fund services, compared to areas with much higher council tax rates.
Council bosses have asked for special consideration towards these historic low rates in Dudley when funding is allocated from government.
The council’s draft budget proposals were announced in October which included plans for a 2.99 per cent increase in the basic rate of council tax with a further 1.5 per cent increase, which will go specifically to adult social care services. The basic rate equates to less than £1 extra a week on most properties and importantly, means you will still pay one of the lowest council tax rates in the country.
There are also planned investments to support local residents including targeting fly-tippers with a deep clean of the borough and more prosecutions where possible, free night-time parking to support the local economy, promoting recycling, improvements in housing, additional monies for social care provision and having a zero approach to rough sleeping.
There are also planned investments in frontline services despite the challenges from government funding for local authorities.
A series of scrutiny committees last month gave people the chance to have their say on the proposals as part of the annual consultation. People can also have their say via the council's homepage at www.dudley.gov.uk