The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

South Ayrshire Council consults with residents about Government spending cuts

South Ayrshire Council is asking residents and communities across South Ayrshire to make their views known on how the Council should prioritise its spending next year as part of its Big Budget Challenge.

[Councillors Robin Reid (left) and Bill McIntosh check out the Big Budget Challenge advert, which is appearing on buses across South Ayrshire to encourage as many people as possible to get involved.]

The Council currently spends more than a quarter of a billion pounds each year to deliver a wide range of services to some 110,000 people across South Ayrshire. However, with the public sector in Scotland facing major cuts, the Council has to determine how it will fund and deliver these services with less money.

Services include education for young people, care for older people, pavements, roads and street lights, golf courses, swimming pools and community facilities to name but a few.

Like all local authorities, South Ayrshire Council expects significant reductions in the amount of money it has to spend in the coming years – how to manage this and deliver services is the Big Budget Challenge.

Councillor Robin Reid, Portfolio Holder for Resource and Performance, said: “The funding for our budget of around £267 million comes from a combination of grant funding from the Scottish Government, non-domestic rates (paid by businesses) and from council tax.

“While we won’t know exactly how much we’ll have to spend until late November/early December, we anticipate an overall reduction in funding of around 12% in the next two years.

“This could mean up to £30 million less for us to deliver services to the people of South Ayrshire, which will have a real impact on how we can deliver our services.”

To ensure local residents have an opportunity to have their say on this, the Council is undertaking a Big Budget Challenge across South Ayrshire and wants as many people as possible to take part.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “The Big Budget Challenge is about working to identify where we can make savings and spend less money and prioritising what we do with the budget we do have in the years ahead.

“While a lot of work has already been progressed within the Council on this, we want to hear from local communities and get their views and comments on what services matter to them.

“We’re making it as easy as possible to get involved with thousands of leaflets and questionnaires going out to Council offices and facilities across South Ayrshire and every school pupil receiving a copy to take home. The questionnaire can then be returned using the freepost reply card or by dropping it into one of our many collection boxes, which will be available across the area. It can also be completed on our website, where you will find the latest information on our budget process.

“A key way to get involved is to come along to one of our Big Budget Challenge Discussions, which take place during November and December. A Big Budget Challenge Discussion will be held in every ward, giving local communities the chance to hear directly from us on our budget position, ask questions and – most importantly – let us know what they think.”

Each Big Budget Challenge Discussion will last from 7pm until 9pm and the schedule of events is as follows:

Walker Hall, Troon: Thursday 4 November

Belmont Academy: Thursday 11 November

Prestwick Academy: Thursday 18 November

Girvan Academy: Tuesday 23 November

Ayr Academy: Wednesday 24 November

Monkton Primary School: Tuesday 30 November

John Pollock Centre: Thursday 2 December

Maybole Town Hall: Wednesday 8 December

Councillor McIntosh concluded: “This is your Council and your services we are talking about – that’s why it’s so important you get involved. This really is your chance to have your say, so please make sure you take part in the Big Budget Challenge.”

For further information on the Big Budget Challenge, visit or call 0300 123 0900.

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