RESIDENTS are being invited to join Wiltshire Council leaders this month to discuss the services that the council provides and its plans for future years.

The Focussing on the Future public meetings will be spread across four dates in locations around Wiltshire this January.

The first is on Tuesday, January 7 at The Alamein Suite, City Hall, Salisbury, and the next on Thursday, January 9 at Council Chamber, Monkton Park, Chippenham.

The final two will be held on Wednesday, January 15 at Cotswold Room, County Hall, Trowbridge and on Thursday, January 16 at Devizes Community Hub and Library respectively.

All the meetings take place from 5.30pm-7pm and will be an opportunity to focus on how the council is changing to provide the services that taxpayers expect and need both now and in the years ahead.

Since 2017/18, the council has saved around £67 million by working more efficiently and prioritising services but it estimates a further £15 million must be saved next year despite the demand for services continuing to grow, especially in social care, at a higher rate than the current budget.

This means strong financial planning is vital, as well as a programme of transformation, digitisation and commercialisation. Wiltshire Council has also pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030 and its councillors have agreed to seek to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: “We want our residents to be passionate and engaged in our work and the services we provide and I hope we have a good cross-section of people attending.

“These meetings will help people get the all-important context to our decision-making process and some of the plans we have.

“I don’t just want to talk at people, I welcome attendees to have an honest conversation with us and challenge where they see fit.”

There are also just a few hours left to try out the council’s budget simulator where people can say where they think the money should be spent, how savings can be made and suggest ways of bringing in more income.

The budgets and feedback received from the budget simulator will be used to shape the council’s budget proposals for 2020/21.

You can have a go at balancing the budget here before the consultation closes today.