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Funding our future

October 26, 2023
Average read time: 4 minutes
Cheshire West & Chester Council | We want your views on Funding our future | How the Council can develop a budget that reflects your priorities | Funding out future | Cheshire West and Chester

Over the next six weeks, Cheshire West and Chester Council will be asking the public for their views on local spending priorities. The budget consultation - Funding our future - will be open until 10 December 2023 and help to inform decisions that Councillors make in February 2024 on the overall Council budget.

The Council spends £941 million each year on services for local people. This is public money which pays for services that matter to residents and communities across the borough. It includes services that everyone benefits from every day, like emptying bins, removing litter and maintaining local roads. The bulk of the budget funds vital services which many people might be less aware of - particularly if they, or their family or friends, do not directly receive them. However, they are crucial, often life-saving, to many people in our communities - both children and adults - who need extra help and support, such as services relating to social care, mental health, domestic violence and abuse, and homelessness.

However, financial pressures, significant increases in demand for social care and other services, and high levels of inflation, are all impacting on what the Council can deliver.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Louise Gittins, said:

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Councils across the country are facing huge funding challenges - we believe the most difficult in a decade - and Cheshire West and Chester is no different. Difficult decisions will need to be made.

More and more people are looking to us for help, and the costs of providing it are increasing, placing considerable pressure on our finances. We currently face a funding gap of £47m over the next four years, and this may yet increase. Unlike most other organisations, we also have a legal obligation to set a balanced budget - meaning that we cannot spend more than we receive through national funding and local income, such as Council Tax and Business Rates.

We will continue to put all our efforts in providing the best services and support for people that we possibly can within the resources we have available - and consider any ways in which they might be delivered differently. But the views of our communities have never been more important. The local government sector, including our own Council, is trying to overcome an unprecedented financial situation.  We want to protect the services which matter most to our residents and businesses, and those which look after the most vulnerable people in our borough. Many continue to struggle with the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and wider support needs which affect their wellbeing and quality of life on a daily basis.

I urge everyone to take part in our consultation. Funding our future is about the future of our communities as much as the financial sustainability of the Council. We are a public sector organisation that exists to serve our local population. Please have your say and play your part in helping to shape our priorities for the coming months and years.
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Cllr Gittins

Cabinet Member for Legal and Finance, Cllr Carol Gahan, said:

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Cheshire West and Chester Council has long been recognised for strong financial management, with a reputation for engaging effectively with communities about how we spend our budget and provide the services that local people rely on.

However, we face a truly unprecedented challenge. Our Council has never before had to overcome a budget gap of this scale. A number of other Councils have, in recent weeks, reported huge concerns about their ability to afford and maintain current levels of service delivery, with the support they provide to their residents and businesses at risk of significant reduction, or even withdrawal. We need to do everything we can to minimise the impact of our financial position within our own borough - preserve key services and think about how we might deliver some of them in new ways.

The opinions, ideas and priorities of our local communities will be absolutely vital to helping us develop a budget that protects key services as far as possible and continues to meet the needs of the people we serve.

This year, people can share their views in a range of ways - including by phone, email, in writing, by completing our budget survey, or by using our budget simulator which will help them consider how they would spend the Council's budget if it were up to them. I strongly encourage everyone to take part.
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Cllr Gahan

There are lots of ways to have your say

Visit for background information and ways to take part in the survey and/or budget simulator:

Funding our future

You can also write to: Funding our future, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester, The Portal, Wellington Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BA.

Or email: and share your views.

Alternatively, you can phone: 0300 123 8123 to speak to the Council's Contact Centre, quoting 'Funding our future'.

You can complete a paper copy of the consultation, available in libraries. Alternative formats are also available on request.