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Published : 25/10/2012 00:00

Children help council make important budget decisions

Young people are being asked to put their maths skills to the test to help Leeds City Council make important decisions about how to save millions of pounds for the city.

A group of young people aged between 14 and 17 met senior leaders in the council’s children’s services department earlier this week to look at how the department can best use its budget whilst helping the council save £40 million.

The 12 youngsters were given “million pound notes” to represent the children’s services budget and they worked with the leadership team to identify how they could make savings, whilst still delivering the services needed throughout the city.

This meeting is part of the council’s wider efforts to involve residents with budget planning. A new website called “YouChoose” has been developed as part of a city wide budget consultation to help residents of all ages gain a better understanding of what the council’s budget is used for, what the council does and the challenges it faces with reduced resources. It also provides a way for residents to show the council what their priorities would be  if they were setting the council budget.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Our aim to make Leeds a Child Friendly City is all about giving children and young people a voice and making sure we listen and act on their ideas and views.

“This is an excellent way of getting young people involved in the important decisions we have to make on behalf of the people of Leeds. Asking what their priorities are for their city means we can take their opinions in to account when we set next year’s budget.”

YouChoose is an on-line simulator, provided free of charge, so the council can find out what is important to its residents and what their priorities are. This is everyone's chance to have their say on which services the council should spend more or less on, and on its savings and income plans. To take part go to: www.leeds.gov.uk/youchoose

The aim of YouChoose is to set a budget £40m lower than the starting point whilst still delivering services for the city. This is the saving the council has to make for the financial year April 2013 to the end of March 2014.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk