Council uses Monopoly board to help choose which services to cut

Durham County Council Leader Simon Henig (left) with Gordon Elliott (centre) head of partnerships & community engagemant and Coun. Brian Stephens with a Monopoly-style board showing where council budget cuts may be made.
Durham County Council Leader Simon Henig (left) with Gordon Elliott (centre) head of partnerships & community engagemant and Coun. Brian Stephens with a Monopoly-style board showing where council budget cuts may be made.
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Have your say

COUNCIL tax payers are being urged to have their say on forthcoming cuts.

Central government has ordered Durham County Council to save £100million a year, leading County Hall to come up with an innovative board game approach to use during sessions where residents will be asked to decide which services should be cut, and by roughly how much.

The sessions will take place at Area Action Partnership (AAP) meetings in the coming weeks.

Residents will sit around a Monopoly-style board with each exercise hosted by a council officer.

Council leader and labour member Simon Henig said the results will have an impact on the council’s budget for the next three financial years.

“We last did a major exercise in 2010,” said Coun Henig.

“People identified winter maintenance, social care and services for children as priority services. We listened, and none of those were cut. People can be sure it is worthwhile taking part this time around.”

The council has an annual budget of £1billion, of this £600million - which includes most of the education budget - is ring fenced by Government, meaning the council cannot cut or increase it.

Residents can express a preference for increasing council tax, but any increase above two per cent would have to be approved in a referendum.

Anyone unable to go to one of the sessions can have their say online. AAP meetings where the talks will take place include The Glebe Centre, Murton, and County Hall, Durham, on Saturday, October 26, and Park View School in Chester-le-Street on Monday, November 11. Details are available on the council’s website www.durham.gov.uk.