We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Final survey report

March 23, 2011 9:33 AM

The final results from our budget survey have been analysed and are outlined below. Once again a big thank you to everyone who responded.

We developed this survey in response to the draft budget cuts the Tory Administration were proposing. In total we delivered over 5000 surveys across the County in December and January, alongside publishing the survey on our website. We had a good response and this has helped us to develop our views on the most important services that should be protected from extreme cuts by the Conservatives.

One of the most crucial questions we asked was how willing people were to pay an increase in council tax to save services after the Government funded freeze ends in 2011/12. This has been deliberately misinterpreted by the Tories who claimed we would increase Council Tax this year. The truth is the issue is what should happen in future years when the additional government grant ends and our view is that it is reasonable to ask people whether they are prepared to pay a small increase to protect key services. The responses we received on this question were as follows:

Yes to freeze Council Tax: 43%

No to a freeze in Council Tax: 51.7%

Don't Know: 5.23%

The issue is therefore not clear cut, with both sides able to claim a healthy level of support. Our results were also similar to the County Council's own survey. This doesn't mean we think Council Tax should go up, but does give us a good idea of what people think about the issue, and will be very useful to our future work.

Another interesting result was the high number of suggestions we received from respondents. We asked people whether they had any suggestions that could save money or improve the budget. In total we had 36 suggestions which included a 50% reduction in Council Tax for pensioners and the use of reserves to avoid cuts.

In terms of services people thought should be protected and supported versus those that should be cut, we got a lot of very interesting responses:

Top 5 to be protected Top areas for reductions

Elderly Care 85.3%

Public relations 91.9%

Anti-Social Behaviour 55.1%

Home to school transport 43.1%

Employment for adults with learning difficulties 50.87%

Voluntary Sector Grants 47.4%

Youth Services 46.5%

Community Centres 36.7%

Maintenance of roads & paths 44%

To identify services that should be protected and those people felt could be reduced we took the highest score each item on the list received. This was based on a scale from 1(low rating) to 5 (high rating). The percentages were calculated using the top/bottom values and do not include responses that rated something in the middle (i.e. as a 3). This way we have been able to select those areas with a clear indication of public opinion.

For example community centres scored low as did VCS but elderly care and youth scored high. The reality is that community centres are often the base for a wide range of groups that support a wide range of activities from youth work to elderly care. This is why we have been so against withdrawing the funding for community centres. Therefore we don't believe that spending decisions can be made in isolation as there can often be unforeseen impacts on individuals and communities most at need.

What is important is that we know what people think and feel, as this helps us to build a picture of the services that you value most.

Thank you once again to those who responded.