Sunderland people are being asked to have their say on detailed proposals for saving a further £74m from the City Council’s budget.

The council warned in October that it needed to save this additional amount by 2020 on top of the £250m it has already had to save since 2010 as a result of the Government’s austerity programme.

Unprecedented cuts and cost pressures have left the council struggling to balance falling budgets with the rising demand for adult social care as the population ages and the extra investment needed to support vulnerable children.

The council also estimates that by 2020 it will have £590 less available to spend for each Sunderland household than it has at the moment.

Council Leader, Councillor Paul Watson, said: “This is uncharted territory in terms of the crippling level of cuts we are facing as a result of the Government’s austerity programme.

“We’ve tried so hard to protect our communities from the worst of the cuts over the last six years by absorbing most of the impact ourselves but we’ve now reached the stage where we just can’t do that any more.

“We know these cuts are going to impact on services that residents hold dear and we share their frustration that we can’t provide the same level of service we once did.

“But we can’t spend money that we don’t have which is why we’ve had to take a long hard look at each and every service to see how we can achieve the savings we need to make.”

Following its initial budget consultation in October, the City Council is now encouraging residents, businesses and partners to have their say on the more detailed proposals by taking part in an online consultation on its website: www.sunderland.gov.uk/budget-consultation

Copies of the survey are also available from consultation@sunderland.gov.uk or by phoning 561 1614. People have until Tuesday 3 January to take part in the consultation.

Cllr Watson added: “I’d like to thank everyone who has already taken part in the general budget consultation and encourage them and everyone else in the city to have their say on these more detailed proposals. The budget challenge we’re facing in the run up to 2020 is greater than any we’ve seen to date, with some really difficult choices so it’s important people have the  opportunity to comment on them.”

The results of this latest consultation and the general budget consultation will inform the revenue budget that will be considered by February Cabinet meeting, ahead of the council’s budget setting in March.