Portsmouth people can have their say on vital spending decisions to be made by the council. 

They are being asked for their views on massive investments planned for the city, including new flood defences, new secondary school places and a new city centre road layout. 

The council wants to hear from residents and businesses to help it decide priorities before it sets its next overall budget, for the financial year 2018–19. 

The annual budget consultation runs until 9 November. This year the focus is on big, one-off schemes, planned as investments in the future of the city. Local people are being asked how important they feel these are. 

Last year the council allocated £16.5m to such projects, which are paid for out of its capital budget. 

Residents are also being asked what the council's priorities should be for spending on day-to-day services, which are paid for out of its revenue budget. These range from rubbish collections and libraries to care for children and older people. 

Like all councils, Portsmouth is facing a further reduction in the grant it gets from the government. In the coming three years, the council needs to save another £12m from its revenue budget. 

Residents are also being asked if they feel council tax should go up, to help pay for services. 

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Donna Jones, said: "Getting feedback from local people through the annual budget consultation is really important, and we want to hear from as many residents and businesses as possible. 

"We want to know where they think the council should be spending, and where it should be saving. 

"We need to make sure we're investing in Portsmouth's future, whether that's by making sure homes and businesses are protected from flooding, or by providing enough school places for our children. We're asking people for their views on these big areas of spending. 

"In last year's budget consultation, 85% of respondents were in favour of the council investing in property to generate income. As a result we're expanding our property portfolio so it will generate £4.3m per year in profit, to go straight back into services for local people. As a result of innovations like this, we need to find fewer savings than in previous years. 

"However, we still face difficult decisions on how to fund the day-to-day services that residents depend on, so people's views on these are also very important." 

To have their say, people can:

  • Search 'budget consultation' at www.portsmouth.gov.uk and complete an online survey.
  • Get a paper copy of the survey from main reception at the Civic Offices, a library or a housing office, or by calling 023 9268 8073.
  • Find Portsmouth City Council on Facebook.

They can also go to one of these public meetings: 

  • East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum on Thursday 19 October, 7pm at the Royal Beach Hotel, St Helens Parade
  • a business breakfast meeting on Monday 6 November, 8am at the Guildhall
  • a general public meeting on Wednesday 8 November, 7pm–8:30pm at the council chamber in the Guildhall

    Other events are being planned and will be announced soon.