Debate on council’s finances

RESIDENTS are being invited to take part in discussions on future county spending priorities.

Northumberland County Council is hosting a budget debate for the south east of the county on Wednesday, January 19, in Cramlington Learning Village at 6pm.

Leading officials will give presentations on the challenges facing the financial position as the authority outlines its budget position for 2011-12.

Residents will then be allowed to ask questions and take part in a debate.

All views discussed at the meeting will be reported back to the council’s budget meeting on Wednesday, February 23.

Coun Jeff Reid, council leader, said: “The council’s constitution requires that the council holds a state of the area debate on an annual basis.

“ Holding meetings in different parts of the county before the main debate will give many of our residents and stakeholders the opportunity to participate.

“Over the next four years, the county council will have to make £110m efficiency savings following on the back of £50m savings that have been made over the previous two years.

“These are undoubtedly very difficult financial times for Northumberland County Council.

“Councillors have some tough spending decisions ahead and are keen to understand residents’ views before making these decisions.

“The services provided by Northumberland County Council impact on every resident and every household in Northumberland.

“The discussion evening gives us the chance to explain the issues surrounding the council’s current financial position while providing local people with the opportunity to put forward their thoughts and views.

“We hope that the public will come along and join in the debate.”