RESIDENTS will have to “take more responsibility for themselves and their families” to “reverse the trend in state dependency”, Buckinghamshire County Council Leader David Shakespeare says.

In a letter to taxpayers across the county in the Bucks Free Press this week (see link below), he echoes Chief Executive Chris Williams' view that in future council will become providers 'of the last resort' .

Cllr Shakespeare has warned there is no “magic wand” with more than £90m of cuts needed over four years – levels not seen “since the end of World War Two”.

The way services are run has to change to cope with a 28 per cent reduction in Government funds, he said.

But he pledged to “bust bureaucracy and save your cash”.

He wrote: “It’s only the older generation that will have first hand experience of what this level of cuts really mean.

“For the rest of us, it’s a steep learning curve. Sadly, as there’s no magic wand solution, the responsibility for coping falls squarely on all our shoulders.

“So, as the Government hands power back into our hands where it belongs, it’s up to us locally to come up with the answers.”

Day centres in Bourne End, Beaconsfield and Princes Risborough are under threat, while bosses want to hand 14 libraries over to volunteers to save nearly £700,000.

Consultations are being carried out, which Cllr Shakespeare urged residents to take part in.

He wrote: “Inevitably, we’ll have difficult discussions with you about the future of particular local services, but my commitment is to listen to every possible suggestion and idea you put forward.

“The bottom line is that we must reverse the trend in state dependency that has grown up over the last 30 years by asking local people and local communities to take more responsibility for themselves and their families.

“This is the concept of Big Society and I’m confident that together, we can get through these testing times.”

What do you think about the way services are changing? Leave your comments below.