We are once again setting our budget for the borough, and whether you reside, work, or travel to Oldham, we want to provide you with the opportunity to voice your opinion.
Due to reductions in council funding by the government, our budgets continue to shrink each year. However, the demand for our services from local residents, who are in dire need of our support, continues to rise year after year.
This means that our financial resources are becoming tighter, and we are compelled to cut £30 million from our budget over the next two financial years. Consequently, we face tough decisions.
Our top priority is to protect vital services for our most vulnerable residents, ensuring that elderly parents or grandparents receive the necessary support and safeguarding vulnerable young individuals. Simultaneously, we must guarantee the delivery of essential day-to-day services that keep our streets clean and the borough safe for all.
Therefore, we are posing two crucial questions to our residents and businesses:
- Where do you believe the Council should reduce expenditure?
- Which areas do you think the Council should allocate funds to?
Cllr Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, stated: “Times are challenging, and we are experiencing the same pressures as our residents.
“Price increases, such as fuel and energy, have impacted the Council, just as they have affected your household budget. Like you, we must make ends meet and balance our budget.
“We are shouldering the costs of national crises in housing and social care. Unfortunately, this expenditure must be deducted from current budgets and services.
“No one joins local government to cut services; quite the opposite. However, as you would expect, more and more local individuals require our assistance, and we must find ways to provide help while prioritising those in greatest need.”
Councillor Abdul Jabbar, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources, remarked: “Oldham is not in a unique position; all local authorities must commit to spending reductions in order to address the escalating demands we all face.
“Now that the consultation has commenced, we urge everyone to participate and express their views on how we shape our final plans.”
At present, 60p of every pound the Council spends is allocated to caring for the most vulnerable, including children whose parents are unable to do so and ensuring the safety and warmth of our elderly residents.
Our environmental services account for 25p of every pound the Council spends, which encompasses essential public services such as weekly bin collections and maintaining safe parks for our children.
Approximately 6p of every pound in our budget is dedicated to public health, leaving less than 10p for all other Council expenditures, such as libraries, leisure facilities, and customer services.
You can share your views on which areas we should allocate funds to and where we should reduce spending by participating in the consultation on the Council’s website, available here.
The consultation period will run from today, Tuesday 16th January, until Friday 9th February 2024.
Councillors will then make a final decision on budget proposals at the Budget Council on 28th February.