Saturday, 5 November 2011

Public Services under discussion as cuts continue to bite

“The impact of the cuts on public services in this district
is and will continue to be significant"
-- Council leader Eileen Blamire
As government cuts in public funding continue - with more on the way over at least the next two years - how can the district’s public services work better together to ensure they are able to keep on delivering the services that matter most to people?

This is one of the questions being asked in a series of discussion forums being held around the Lancaster and Morecambe district – and local people are being asked to get involved by submitting their own views and suggestions.

Public services provide millions of pounds worth of local services, including collecting and disposing of waste and recycling, providing hospitals and health care, educating our children and policing our streets. Many other organisations and individuals also provide valuable services to our communities.

But the impact of the recession and the Government’s priority of reducing the financial deficit means that there is less money to support those services and, at the same time, increasing numbers of people relying on them.

So far, the discussion forums have provided an opportunity for public services - including the City and County Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, GP Consortia,  Lancashire Constabulary and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust - to meet with members of the community and partners to share those realities and invite views as to how to deal with the issues.

“The impact of the cuts on public services in this district is and will continue to be significant," notes Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council. “But this enormous challenge also presents an opportunity for us all - public services, voluntary sector, business, other partners and, importantly, individuals - to work together to re-examine what services the district needs and how they can be provided in the future.

"In many cases this will mean doing things different and will certainly mean closer working and co-operation between us all.”

Coun Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, added: “We’ve all been greatly encouraged by the level and range of responses.

“It is clear that there is a real understanding of the issues we face and a real desire to work better together, as well as suggestions as to how this can be done.”

All the feedback will be shared with public sector partners who will use the information, both collectively and individually, to consider how best to use the resources available to support our district going forward.

• To get involved send your views and ideas by email to suggestions@lancaster.gov.uk or by post to: Jennifer Milligan, Communications, Lancaster Town Hall, Dalton Square, Lancaster LA1 1PJ.





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