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Businesses urged to join Shropshire Council's Big Conversation

  • Shropshire Council

Businesses across Shropshire are being urged to take part in what is the biggest consultation on Shropshire Council services ever launched - and are being encouraged to ask their employees to join in. The Big Conversation survey is the first phase of a five-year conversation the council wants people who live and work in Shropshire to say what council services are most important to them.

Like all local authorities, Shropshire Council is faced with the need to make further substantial savings in the coming years due to ongoing Government cuts.

By 2020/21 the Government's £44m revenue support grant - money that is paid to councils each year to help provide services - will end. By the time this grant ends, it is estimated that Shropshire Council will be a further £77m worse off, due to the combination of inflationary increases in costs, particularly in adult social care, and further cuts in Government grants.

The council's forecast budget for 2020/21, recently published in the council's Financial Strategy, is estimated to be £188m. Of this, £163m (87%) will be allocated to core services including adult and children's social care and safeguarding, domestic waste disposal, concessionary travel and school transport.

This will leave just £25m (13% of the overall budget) of money to spend on the remaining 150 plus services the council currently provides. This is a reduction of 75% from the £100m the council currently spends on these services.

This means the council will have to stop delivering some services, and need businesses to tell them which services are important to them and what they can do to help and make the remaining resources it has go further.

Claire Wild, Shropshire Council's Cabinet member leading the council's Big Conversation, said:

"Every business in Shropshire has to manage a budget, prioritise and make important spending decisions. This is the same for the council, and we really want to make sure that local businesses have the opportunity to influence these decisions by showing us which services are the most important to them.

"As part of this Big Conversation we want the owners, managers and employees of local businesses to tell us their views on the services they value, the services they don't, and the services they may consider to run themselves.

"The Big Conversation will continue over the next five years, but the first phase of the conversation is to ask people to complete a short initial survey.

"We ask all local businesses to get involved, your views will be used to tell us what services the council will provide in the years ahead."

For more information about the Big Conversation and to complete the survey visit the Big Conversation page on the Shropshire Council website.

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