JUST a few days remain for residents across the borough to have their say on Dudley Council’s budget proposals.

The plans include increasing council tax rate by 4.99 per cent, with both main political party leaders in agreement on the proposed hike which comes as the authority wrestles to get a grip on its finances.

Following scrutiny from a recent Local Government Association peer review and the annual audit, a raft of precautionary measures have been introduced, including spending controls, to safeguard budgets amid growing pressures and to help the council avoid bankruptcy.

An independent Improvement and Assurance Board has been working to address the financial pressures including forecasts which show the £21million in the council’s reserves will fall to an unsustainable level next year.

However, the authority still needs to spend on services and it wants to know which ones people value the most. To have your say click here.

A number of financial pledges are included as part of the 2024/5 budget - particularly for adult social care and children’s services, which are set to receive £40million, amid warnings the services face a combined £12million pressure next year.

But the council also needs to raise funds to set a sustainable budget while protecting essential services.

If proposals are approved by the council in March, the basic rate of council tax will rise by 2.99 per cent and there will also be a two per cent increase going directly to adult social care. The total 4.99 per cent increase equates to £1.17 increase per week for a typical Band B property.

More than 1,300 people have completed an online consultation on the budget proposals so far.

Councillor Patrick Harley, Dudley Council’s leader, said: “We’ve had a good response so far from people but there is still time for others to come forward and let us know what they think about these proposals."

The consultation, which can be accessed via the council's website, runs until Friday February 16.