7000 re­spond to con­sul­ta­tion

West Lothian Courier - - News - Courier re­porter

A record num­ber of peo­ple have made their views known in West Loth­ian Coun­cil’s big­gest ever con­sul­ta­tion. The Trans­form­ing Your Coun­cil con­sul­ta­tion – which fo­cused on the fu­ture of coun­cil ser­vices in West Loth­ian - at­tracted 45,338 com­ments and sug­ges­tions. Over 7000 in­di­vid­ual sub­mis­sions were made, more than any con­sul­ta­tion pre­vi­ously car­ried out by the coun­cil.

The coun­cil is seek­ing the views of lo­cal res­i­dents on of­fi­cer pro­pos­als to bridge the es­ti­mated £73 mil­lion bud­get gap over the next five years, on top of the £92mil­lion al­ready saved since 2007. The es­ti­mated bud­get gap is based on pro­jec­tions that Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment grant fund­ing will not be enough to meet the in­creas­ing cost of ser­vices.

West Loth­ian Coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Gra­ham Hope, said:“Thank you ev­ery­one who has taken the time to give us their views on the of­fi­cer pro­pos­als to bridge the ex­pected £73 mil­lion gap. This is the largest ever re­sponse to a West Loth­ian Coun­cil con­sul­ta­tion, and I’d like to thank ev­ery­one who took the time to share the opin­ions on what we ap­pre­ci­ate was a ma­jor con­sul­ta­tion span­ning across all the ser­vice ar­eas de­liv­ered by the coun­cil.

“The re­sponses from the con­sul­ta­tion will now be con­sid­ered at a se­ries of spe­cial pol­icy, de­vel­op­ment and scru­tiny panel (PDSP) meet­ings, with fi­nal de­ci­sions made by coun­cil­lors at a bud­get set­ting meet­ing in Fe­bru­ary. Ex­tremely dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions lie ahead and changes to many ex­ist­ing coun­cil ser­vices will be nec­es­sary in or­der that the coun­cil can bal­ance its bud­get.”

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