Redbridge plans cuts by asking residents to choose

REDBRIDGE Town Hall chiefs are asking residents to take part in an internet exercise to help them decide where to make an estimated �25million in cuts.

TOWN HALL chiefs at Redbridge are taking a different approach in deciding where to make an estimated �25million of cuts.

While nervous council officials wait for word from the coalition government on how much it will have to save for the 2011/2012 budget, to help councillors make the call on where and what to cut, they have opened the debate up to residents through the Redbridge Conversation 2010 – an online tool asking people what cuts they would make to help balance the books.

Council leader Cllr Keith Prince is full of enthusiasm for the budget exercise, named You Choose.

He said: “We are using cutting edge technology to enable the community not only to give us their views, but to engage in the tough process of making difficult choices around our services and functions.”

Anything from fortnightly rubbish collections to the closure of libraries and community centres is on the table.

Deputy leader of the council and Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Ian Bond said: “Here in Redbridge we believe we’re leading the way in giving people the chance to get involved and have a say before our budget is set next year.”

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For Hannah Vyner, 22, of Woodford Green carrying out the internet exercise threw up some tough decisions.

“They’ve put a lot of things in each category,” she said. “It’s not specific enough and quite generic so it’s not easy to make it clear what you want to do.

“It’s giving an overview of certain criteria and you can’t really expand on that. For example, I wouldn’t want Hainault Forest Country Park to close and I don’t want fortnightly rubbish collections but I can’t tell it that.

“I’ve cut money from social care only because I think adults with mental health needs will surely have other places to go if they close down day centres.

“I don’t want to cut anything from education and homelessness is a big problem so I increased spending for that.”