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Youth budget event for East Yorkshire

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Young people from across the East Riding have had their say on how the council should spend its money in the year ahead.

They have identified support for older people to maintain their independence, and help for the business community as top priorities.

Pupils from five secondary schools attended a youth budget event at which they had an opportunity to put their views to leading members and officers of East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

The council invited the schools to the meeting at the Beverley Leisure Complex as part of a series of public consultation events before the authority sets its budget for the next financial year.

The budget will be set at a special meeting in February. The council has to save about £72m over the next four years and is keen to hear from the public what its spending priorities should be.

Pupils from Cottingham High School, Goole High School, Headlands School and Community Science College, Hornsea School and Language College and Withernsea High School took part in the youth budget event.

Leading councillors and council officers outlined the financial pressures the council is facing, before the young people had an opportunity to give their views.

They agreed that targeted support for older people to maintain their independence, and enterprise zones and inward investment should be the council’s main priorities in the year ahead.

The students said afterwards that they had enjoyed taking part in the event, and had gained a valuable insight into how spending decisions were made.

One student said: “It was much more fun than I thought – it was nice to be listened to and the discussions were good.”

Jayne Clarke, Withernsea High School student council co-ordinator, said the event had been ‘an eye opener’ for many of the students, who had not been aware of many of the issues raised..

“I think they learned to appreciate the size of the problem that the council faces in setting budgets. I don’t think they had realised that services need to be more cost effective and how that would be achieved. I think it was a big eye opener for them and it was really good.”

Councillor Stephen Parnaby OBE, leader of the council, said: “We are keen to listen to the views of young people on what is important to them – obviously the decisions we make today will affect their future and this was an opportunity to explain to them how they are made.

“I was delighted that the students took such an active part in the discussions and very encouraged by their response.”

Coun Julie Abraham, portfolio holder for children, young people and education, said, “I was impressed by how quickly the students understood the different services and the difficulty that we face in deciding where our resources should be spent. The level of debate was excellent and, as has been the case in previous years, the young people were extremely mindful of the needs of older people.”

 

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