Have a say, pupils – the cuts affect you too

TEENAGERS have been among the first people to have their say on the future of decision-making in Waveney.

We reported on The Journal front page last week how Waveney District Council had launched its What Would You Do? campaign, inviting people in the district to share their ideas about how money could be saved locally.

Public events are already under way, and earlier this week about 60 year nine pupils at Bungay High School took on the challenge of the interactive budget simulator, using a virtual reality game to see how they could manage the council's budget and make cuts.

Youngsters in Lowestoft will have the chance to tackle the authority's figures over the next couple of weeks.

The council's budget team will be at the Ashley School on Tuesday, at Kirkley High School on Wednesday and at Denes High School on November 1.

All councils and public bodies will find out next week how severely they will be affected by national spending cuts when the government announces the outcome of its comprehensive spending review. Chancellor George Osborne will reveal his proposals on Wednesday.

But Waveney is already gearing up for an expected reduction of up to 30pc in its budget.

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Council leader Mark Bee believes it is important to engage the earners and taxpayers of tomorrow in the consultation.

'Children and young people need many of our services just as much as adults, and, by going into schools and talking to pupils about spending in this tough financial climate, we can help them better understand some of the tough decisions we will have to make,' he said.

'We have been given fair warning that the spending review will take a strong line on public spending and that we must expect some real pain.

'However, it is important that we carefully analyse the decisions taken by government and help our communities to understand what it might mean for them and the services they have come to rely on.'

To have your say in the What Would You Do? campaign, visit www.waveney.gov.uk for more information, a link to a new Facebook page, a survey and an interactive budget simulator.

Public consultation events are being held at Lowestoft Library from 3pm to 7pm on Tuesday, and at Southwold Town Hall from 4pm to 7pm on Wednesday, to give people the chance to find out more about the campaign, have their say and learn about the roles of Waveney councillors and officers.