THOUSANDS of people have started telling Wirral Council what they think of the options for budget cuts announced by officials.
Council chiefs struggling to find ways of slashing £39m from their spending are seeking the public’s views on a massive range of options.
First they asked people which services they felt were most important before releasing a list of potential cuts to choose from.
Now the authority is now trying to find out what people in the borough think of these potential cuts before councillors make their final decision.
In the first week they received almost 2,500 responses.
Officers from the council have also been out and about talking to residents at supermarkets and community centres to encourage people to have their say on the proposals.
At Sainsbury’s in Pensby Road, Heswall, council officers met with residents and one man, who asked not to be named, took dozens of copies of the questionnaire to hand out to other parents at a nearby day centre.
He said: “I have a disabled child and these cuts could affect the day centre, transport and respite care. I’m worried because we just had a survey and the overall opinion was that we should look after the most vulnerable – and then this came out attacking the vulnerable.”
As well as hundreds of council staff facing poorer working conditions or being made redundant, the proposals include shutting respite homes and day care centres, more or higher charges for social care such as meals on wheels, cutting short breaks for children with disabilities, increased car parking, and cutting back street cleaning, street lighting and highways maintenance, among many others.
Joan Lincoln, from Pensby, said she could not think of any council services which should be cut. She said: “People rely on day care, nurseries and those types of services.”
Another shopper, who asked not to be named, said the council should “stop paying six figure sums to people leaving”, in reference to senior officers who have recently left the authority.
He said: “There is a lot of money wasted and a lot of people are going to be hit by these cuts.”
Chief executive Graham Burgess said they had tried to minimise the impact on frontline services and vulnerable people by trying to cut back on ‘back office’ costs.
He added: “There is no other way of finding the massive amount of money we need.”
See the consultation online at www.wirral.gov.uk/whatreallymatters