Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire County Council asks children for budget views

Schoolchildren have been asked for their views on council spending as part of a consultation into which services should be protected in the next budget.

Lincolnshire County Council, which has to reduce spending by £90m over the next four years, invited children to take part in a consultation during a visit to its headquarters.

The authority asked for feedback about which services should be prioritised.

Some of the children were of primary school age.

A total of 22 children took part in the consultation, which attracted a total of 168 responses.

The Conservative-led authority said it was important to include as wide a group of people as possible in the process.


Consultation results

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  • Priority areas for the children included tackling crime and support for people with disabilities
  • Lower down the list were cultural services and libraries
  • Others wanted more spending on the fire service and roads, with less spent on parking enforcement
  • Only two children voted to increase spending on tourism, while 14 voted for cuts to be made
  • Thirteen young people voted for more to be spent on promoting economic growth, with 13 asking for more funding for care services for older people

Answering criticism the children - who were taking part in a democracy learning event at the council's headquarters in Lincoln - were just being used to bump up the numbers, leader Martin Hill said: "We've got to make a decision on which services to cut more than others, and as part of that exercise we consult all sorts of people.

"There is nothing wrong with including children within that, just to get a flavour of what they think."

However, he did concede it was difficult getting enough people to get involved.

A further consultation is now under way and the council will meet to discuss its budget plans in February.

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