KENT

Kent residents have just under two weeks – until 24 November – to outline their priorities for KCC to consider as it prepares its budget for the next financial year.

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Although it has managed to balance the books for the current financial year, KCC is currently facing a deficit of between £62 million and £143million for 2021-22, with the next government settlement to local authorities as yet unknown.

Over the past few weeks, officers and Members have been considering how they might tackle the toughest financial challenge KCC has faced for many years – greater even than any it faced during 10 years of austerity.

However, no decisions have been made and KCC is keen to consider the views of residents before making them. It is therefore encouraging as many people and organisations as possible to take part in its budget consultation, where they can express their views on how the council might reduce its spending and whether they are happy to accept a modest rise in council tax in order to keep any reductions to a minimum.

Peter Oakford, KCC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Over the past 10 years, despite cuts in government funding and increased demand for some of our services, we have managed to make savings of more than £710million.