LIFE IN PRESTON SURVEY: How do you think your taxes should be spent?

We elect them to make decisions for us...but still politicians are accused of getting it wrong.
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Day one of the results of the Big City Survey

Today, in the second part of our Big City Survey, we look at how the public of Preston feel their taxes could be better spent.

And some of the answers might make uncomfortable reading for those in power at the Town Hall, County Hall and down in Westminster.

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We asked you which three areas of public spending deserved a bigger share of the council and government cake.

Was it public transport or policing? Should it be schools or social care? What about roads or refuse collection?

Your message came back loud and clear. Health funding is the biggest issue sickening the people of Preston - and for many it’s very much a matter of life or death.

So much so in fact that three-quarters of you admitted you would be prepared to stump up an extra 1p on income tax to pay for better healthcare.

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A pothole on Sandy Lane, CottamA pothole on Sandy Lane, Cottam
A pothole on Sandy Lane, Cottam

In our survey a whopping 60 per cent of respondents chose hospitals, GP surgeries and dentists as their priority area for more public money.

While that is hardly a shock in this age of A&E queues, surgical waiting lists and bed shortages, the second most urgent issue on people’s minds might come as a surprise.

The city’s roads - the state they are in and the traffic that clogs them - weren’t far behind on your wish list for bigger spending.

They came higher than policing and social care. And much higher than education, which less than one in five people chose as a priority for better funding.

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More than half (54.28 per cent) felt the road network in and around Preston was not fit for purpose and in desperate need of upgrading - something we touched on in Day One of the survey yesterday.

Policing got the third highest support for extra cash. With Lancashire Constabulary having lost more than 800 officers and hundreds more support staff due to cuts from central government, 48.40 per cent of respondents called for more funding to be pumped into the service to prevent an increase in crime.

Social care and support for people in need got the vote from 46.74 people surveyed, followed by cleanliness of public places (28.10 per cent) and public transport (21.97 per cent).

At the other end of the wish list came refuse collection and recycling with only 8.17 per cent support for additional funding.

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A pothole on Sandy Lane, CottamA pothole on Sandy Lane, Cottam
A pothole on Sandy Lane, Cottam

And surprisingly schools came second bottom of the table with only 18.52 per cent of respondents feeling extra cash was a priority in education.


‘Not enough staff on the wards both day and night and delays in appointments.’

‘Sometimes takes weeks to book a non-important dentist or GP appointment. Process too long for specialist care.’

‘Too many visit A&E unnecessarily and expect too much.’

‘Many people struggle to find an NHS dentist. GP provision in my area is poor.’

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‘Hospitals very understaffed, causing stress and mistakes to be made. NHS dentists unobtainable.’

People are living longer, so more money is needed to cater for their illnesses.’

‘I haven’t been able to get an NHS dentists in 24 years I’ve lived here.’

‘Royal Preston Hospital is a cattle market and waiting times are horrendous.’

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‘RPH staff try, but not enough staff on wards, Needs money desperately.’

‘Hospital is stretched to breaking point.’


‘The money received from taxation on motorists far exceeds what is spent on maintaining the roads.’

‘Awful potholes on most roads which are damaging cars.’

‘The roads are worse than some third world countries.’

‘Road surfaces are absolutely disgusting.’

‘Our roads are a disgrace with so many potholes.’

‘Road conditions are poor and traffic heavy - even without the completion of the new housing estates.’

‘The road layout in the city centre is bad.’

‘So much work being done on the roads never seems to be done.’

‘The road system is not fit to cope with the traffic.’


‘They are stretched to the limit.’

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‘No police presence on the streets anymore and no local police stations.’

‘Police need to be seen more and be there to help when needed.’

‘More police activity is needed in the Plungington area.’

‘Policing is dire - no response to things like burglaries.’

‘Not enough police on the beat.’

‘I’ve not seen a police officer in the city centre for a long time.’

Social care

‘Care workers don’t have enough time to care for the elderly.’

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‘Social care should have money for the welfare of people who need it.’

‘Social care has been stripped down so much that there is no time to care. It is so important to help maintain independence. More social care is needed for people suffering from mental illness.’

‘Insufficient quality care home places at affordable prices.’

‘Social care is a disgrace - my father received no help at all.’

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‘Lack of provision to support vulnerable people, mental health and elderly.’

‘Social car is important for an ageing population. It is not co-ordinated well enough.’

Public transport

‘Transport should be run for the people.’

‘Support the public transport network in rural areas.’

‘Inadequate bus services to and from town and over-crowded when they come.’

‘Public transport is not commensurate with a city.’

‘Too many buses (in the city centre) blocking limited road space. Most are either empty or half-full at best.’

‘Public transport is a joke - I wouldn’t blame anyone for using their car instead of the bus.’