Students take control of council budget

Students got to take control of Malvern Hills District Council's budget as part of a day of activities to promote Local Democracy Week.

More than 20 young people from The Chase, The Chantry, Tenbury High Ormiston Academy and Hanley Castle High School took part in the event on Wednesday, 12 October.

They were given a simulation of the council's budget and asked to identify £1.8million of savings through budget cuts, efficiencies and generating more income.

All but one of them chose to save money by changing the frequency of rubbish collections from weekly to fortnightly, while the majority wanted to see more money to support the homeless and deal with housing issues.

Students also took part in a debating contest on the subject of who was to blame for the lack of interest from young people in politics, with The Chantry emerging the winners.

There was also a question time session with three councillors from each of the main political groups on Malvern Hills District Council being grilled on subjects including Brexit.

It was also announced on the day there were plans to create a new youth council to give young people more of a say in the work of Malvern Hills District Council.

The day was organised by the council and hosted by The Chase as part of efforts to highlight the importance of local democracy and engage a wider age group in the work of the council.

Cllr David Chambers, portfolio holder with responsibility for community engagement on Malvern Hills District Council, said: "We were all impressed with the quality of the debate from our young people and there were definitely some future politicians in the room.

"As a council we're working hard on improving the way we consult with our residents, of all ages, and this event was a valuable part of that work. Our challenge now is to build on the enthusiasm displayed by these young people and use it to help inform our decision-making.”