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Budget Simulator Goes Live

July 3, 2011 9:00 AM

A motion to council from the Lib Dems has resulted in a Budget Simulator being publicly available for residents to use on the council's website.

Users are given a range of options by the computer software (developed by Redbridge council), so they can express choices about how the council should spend its money. They can then see the effect of those choices on the funding of other services. The computer program is necessarily a rather crude tool, so the figures shown are not exact.

Cllr Alison Kelly, who drew up and presented the motion to council last year, said "I hope as many residents as possible will use the software. The sums of money are rounded as it would be impossibly complicated to include the vast amount of detail which a council budget actually contains. But the point is that we can now express our priorities and get an idea of how those choices might affect other services, plus a feel for the difficulties faced in balancing the books. This software tool is only one way the council will be engaging with residents about the budget. We've at last persuaded the ruling Residents' Party that consultation on the budget is hugely valuable. The days of the council arbitrarily setting its own priorities are gone and it's all about how residents want their council tax spent which is important."

The budget simulation is live from 20th June until the end of July. It's part of a process of consultation leading up to the setting of next year's budget in February 2012.

Cllr Julie Morris, leader of the Lib Dem opposition, commented "There has been some publicity about this in the local newspaper but unfortunately it appeared to give all the credit to the ruling group, which is a shame for Cllr Kelly who put so much work into getting this scheme off the ground."