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Can you complete the budget challenge?

We’ve come a long way in the past year and moved closer to securing the council’s finances long-term. 

Put simply, this means being able to provide the services that our residents need with the money we have available. 
We’ve also seen the city continue to prosper with our university completing its first full academic year, funding agreed to transform our railway station quarter and regeneration of other key sites progressing. As I have said many times before, we are a city of opportunity with a very bright future. 
I am really proud of our progress and it’s one of the reasons we were shortlisted in the category of Most Improved Council at this year’s Local Government Chronicle Awards. 
In 2024-25, we will be investing in services that range from social care and support for vulnerable families: to public protection, planning and economic growth: to libraries, highways and street cleaning and many more which are explained in this simulator. These services have an impact on all our lives and our futures. 
At the same time we will need to make choices about the way we deliver some services to be able to balance our budget. 
In the coming years we have a budget gap to fill and once again we are asking the people of Peterborough for their suggestions of where they think we should be focussing our spending and where we should make savings.  
This will help us understand what is important to our residents when we make our budget proposals later this year. 
In Peterborough we are predicting a budget gap of £5.1m in 2024/25, rising to £6.1m in 2025/26 and £10.5m in 2026/27. 
Six months ago we were predicting much smaller budget gaps. There are some key reasons for this change in our predictions. 
Inflation remains high and puts an additional strain on our costs, like it has for household budgets. Demand for services such as adult social care and children’s social care remain high. In children’s social care, we are spending an additional £3.5m on care for young people with very complex needs. 
It remains a very challenging time for local authorities. We are not alone in the situation that we face – in fact we are in a much better position than many other councils. Some are facing budget gaps running into many tens of millions. 
What sets us apart in Peterborough is that we have a firm grip on our finances, and we have been planning for this latest challenge. We know we must find a way to meet the city’s needs without additional budget and that is why our focus is on how we transform services to achieve that aim. 
So please, take the time to think carefully about the challenge we are setting you and give us an idea of how you would tackle balancing our budget.  
See what happens if you cut or boost spending on different services – each saving or investment you propose will have consequences which will be highlighted on screen.  
Please share your ideas with friends and family – and encourage them to take up the challenge too and compare results.  What you use or find important, even within your own family, may be quite different. 
Thank you - we look forward to seeing your responses. 
Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald 
Leader of Peterborough City Council. 
When you click through to the simulator, there are ten blocks which are further broken down into services the council provides. You can watch a quick video or read a brief description using the i button above your chosen service to learn more about what each service does. 
It’s important to understand that the consequences are cumulative. For example, if you opt to reduce a service’s budget by 25% you must assume that the consequences for both a 5% and 10% reduction in that budget will also apply.
Please note:
This budget challenge aims to increase people’s awareness of the council’s budget and understanding of the difficult choices councillors must make when setting a budget. It also gives residents a chance to tell us where their priorities might lie if they were the ones making the decisions.
When we publish proposals later in the year, specific proposals which the council intends to take forward will be consulted upon in the normal way.

Create your Budget