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Stretching every penny to sustain local services

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Hampshire News | Stretching every penny to sustain local services | Andover & VillagesAt its meeting on 18th June Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet will consider future spending priorities and how best to meet an £80million budget gap by 2021/22, arising from continuing demographic pressures, as well as inflation and Government grant reductions.

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, explained: “We are going to have to prepare to take some tough decisions about how to plug this projected £80million gap by 2021, as it will come on top of a required £480million budget squeeze since 2008. “We now face an increasingly difficult balancing act in trying to meet residents’ needs given the backdrop of diminishing budgets and rising demands for services. Even so, as well as meeting all our statutory duties, we will continue to do everything possible to address the issues we know people care most about – from supporting the most vulnerable adults and children, to fixing Hampshire’s extensive road network.”

The Cabinet will seek to bridge the budget gap through a combination of careful investment, further innovation, and greater collaboration with partners and communities.

Councillor Perry continued: “Over the last decade we’ve had to make a lot of changes to the way we work – and we will continue to exploit every new opportunity we can in order to give our residents the best possible value for their money.”

Hampshire County Council’s innovative approach is leading the way in future public service delivery. By investing in the latest technology, the County Council is providing more responsive and efficient services. For example, recently launching the world’s first trial with tech giant Amazon to adapt Alexa to help vulnerable people live more independently; and now using robotic grass cutters to keep roadside verges under control.

“Councillor Perry said: “It’s important we maintain this innovative and collaborative approach so we can adapt to changing needs in the most cost effective way. Our sheer scale and in-house expertise secures significant economies of scale and helps to stretch every penny.

“Above all the County Council must live within its means to avoid the type of financial crises now befalling other councils as these threaten to jeopardise the critical and everyday type of local government services we all depend upon. I am proud that the County Council has sustained the highest levels of performance during these difficult years. We have managed that precisely because we have looked ahead and planned carefully to face the challenge.

“Through our strong financial management, and the prudent use of reserves over the years, the County Council is still better placed than many other authorities to withstand future pressures and sustain local services.”

Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet will discuss the proposals for the 2021/22 budget at a meeting on 18 June 2018. The full report is available at: http://democracy.hants.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=134&MId=3473