Controversial suggestions from the public for council budget
Borders residents are being given the chance to shape what is set to be a challenging budget for 2023/24 by completing a survey.
The survey is open until Tuesday, January 31, with more than 250 responses thus far – well down on the 765 responses received during last year’s survey.
Among the suggestions put forward are a reduction in council staff, an end to new vehicle charging points, the closure of some libraries and an increase in parking charges.
Others have called for more support for communities and the voluntary sector and for a delay in capital projects for 12 months to invest funds in the road network.
Today Councillor Euan Jardine, the leader of Scottish Borders Council, urged residents to have their say and revealed that responses had been limited in certain locations – citing Teviot and Liddesdale and Berwickshire in particular – and also called on more people aged under 50 to ‘have their say’.
He said: “More than 250 responses have been received to date, but we really want to exceed the numbers received last year – 765 – and ensure we have as representative a response as possible.
“So far, responses from residents in the Teviot and Liddesdale and Berwickshire localities have been limited, as too are those from Borderers under the age of 50. Our budget impacts on every Borderer, young and old, and from Eyemouth to Newcastleton, so it is crucial everyone has their say.
“I welcome the feedback received to date, which includes a wide range of suggestions from our residents on ways they believe we could save money, or better invest our funds to improve their lives and the local area.
“Without doubt some are challenging and would be highly controversial, whilst others are definitely worth further exploration.
“Every response will be shared with all councillors as we look to best represent our constituents and deliver a budget plan for 2023/24 that meets the needs and aspirations as much as possible, whilst also being financially sustainable and meets ongoing challenges such as the cost of living crisis and soaring inflation.”
The survey can be completed at www.scotborders.gov.uk/budget with printed copies available from council contact centres and library contact centres.