A MASSIVE bid to find out what people think the council should spend its money on was launched from a supermarket in Wirral.
It comes as the authority faces losing a third of its budget – around £100 million – over the next three years.
In response Wirral Council staff will be handing out leaflets and questionnaires to people across the borough, visiting supermarkets, bingo halls, cinemas as well as libraries and children's centres – around 180 events are planned so far – to get as many people as possible to respond.
Council leader Phil Davies and new chief executive Graham Burgess launched the “What Really Matters?” consultation, which ends on October 19, at Asda in Woodchurch.
Mr Burgess said: “The size of the consultation fits the size of the of financial challenge following government reductions in funding.
“When you have reductions of this scale you make sure you get the decisions right – and the only way to do that is to consult as many people as possible.”
The aim is to find out what are people’s highest and lowest priorities, whether it would be right to increase fees for some services and if the council should share services with other organisations. It also asks which, if any, services should be stopped or reduced.
Supermarket manager Stuart Hough said he was pleased to be able to help the council launch its consultation.
He said: “It affects everyone who comes in here and I think it’s great for the customers to be able to have their say. It gives people some input into the decisions being made.”
Cllr Davies added: “The scale of the savings we are being forced to make is greater than anything we have faced before.
“We have no choice but to become a different council and this is going to mean radical and rapid change, making sure that our remaining budget is carefully targeted at our residents’ main priorities.
“We need to know what services matter the most to people and their families so that we can make sure that we spend our reduced budget on the right things.”
The questionnaire, along with a video explaining the consultation, can also be found online, at www.wirral.gov.uk/whatreallymatters. Hard copies are also available from any council One Stop Shop, Library, Leisure Centre or Children’s Centre.