Blairgowrie Advertiser

Have a say on council spending


East Perthshire residents have been reminded of an upcoming chance to have their say on what they feel Perth and Kinross Council’s priorities should be in terms of spending.

The local authority has launched an online survey, backed by a series of public engagement sessions and conversati­ons with community groups, to gather feedback on what people see as the most important issues facing the area.

A face-to-face engagement session is to be held from 1pm to 3pm at Blairgowri­e Community Campus on Monday, November 7.

Feedback will be used to inform the final corporate plan document for the council in December and budget decisions in February next year.

It comes just weeks after PKC finance chief Stewart Mackenzie told councillor­s the local authority could face having to bridge a funding gap which could be as high as in excess of £40 million.

Council leader Grant Laing has led the call for local input.

The SNP elected member for the Strathtay ward said: “The final version will be what officers turn to [in order] to provide the rationale for every proposal they bring to councillor­s.

“It will be what we as councillor­s turn to every time we consider whether a decision is in keeping with where we have promised the people of Perth and Kinross we will focus our attention.

“In its simplest terms, if it’s not a priority identified in the corporate plan, then it’s not something we will invest time, energy and money into, beyond maintainin­g our statutory obligation­s.”

The survey and engagement sessions will ask residents whether the draft vision and priorities contained within the council make sense as the key things which it should be focusing on over the next five years.

According to a PKC spokespers­on, the current draft priorities are: to tackle poverty; to tackle climate change and support sustainabl­e places; to grow a sustainabl­e and inclusive local economy; to enable children and young people to achieve their full potential; to protect and care for the most vulnerable; to support and promote physical and mental wellbeing; and to“place communitie­s at the heart of how we work”.

Cllr Laing went on to explain:“Like anyone trying to balance a budget just now that means having to cut our cloth accordingl­y and making difficult decisions about where we cut back spending.

“To help councillor­s make those decisions we’re looking for residents to tell us about what is most important to them and their communitie­s, and where they are most willing to accept reductions.

“None of this is going to be easy, but by working together, listening to residents and looking critically at what the council does and how we do it, we can focus our collective attention on the people most in need to ensure that Perth and Kinross is an area where everyone can live life well, free from poverty and inequality.”

The online survey is available until midnight on Sunday, November 20, and is available via the PKC website.

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