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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Limited feedback on further cuts at Cumbrian council

Only 13 people replied to a consultation seeking public opinion on proposals to make extra cuts to a council’s budget.

Ian Curwen photo
Ian Curwen

Copeland council ran the consultation from November 8 until December 20 asking people to say whether they agreed or disagreed with proposals – and whether these proposals were likely to impact on them or their families.

However, a report by Copeland’s communication’s manager Ian Curwen, ahead of today’s meeting of the executive committee, said: “A small number of responses to the consultation were received, with only 13 completed responses. It is likely that this was because the scale of this year’s proposals is smaller than in other years.

“Very little interaction or feedback was received.”

The proposals included in the consultation aim to reduce the 2014/15 budget by £100,000, on top of £2.6m of savings agreed last year.

The proposals put to the public included reductions in some remaining discretionary grants, funding some services externally, increased fees and charges for car parks, crematorium, cemeteries and increasing council tax by 1.95 per cent.

The report stated that two of the responses were on behalf of parish councils and one was on behalf of AWAZ Cumbria, which represents the black and ethnic minority community.

Mr Curwen said: “The key point is that last year we did a huge budget consultation on the major proposals. It is very disappointing to get so few responses back but it is understandable.”

Leader of the council Elaine Woodburn said: “I wish people would take the opportunity while there’s a chance to influence our decisions. Sometimes people do all their shouting after the event.

“We have had to deliver massive cuts and it’s not a case that we can save all these services, but we can give people an opportunity to suggest how we can deliver services differently.”

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