BUSINESS owners will be able to have their say as part of a new county council initiative.

The council’s first priority over the next three years is to spread the word that Dorset is ‘open for business’ to encourage economic growth, create jobs and increase prosperity.

Now councillors are asking traders for their input on how the council should prioritise the money available to spend on services affecting local businesses, jobs and the economy.

Representatives from a wide range of business sectors will be attending a consultation event with councillors and managers this month to find out their views on the council’s budget and council tax proposals.

They’ll also hear an update on the county’s superfast broadband project and will be asked to help identify priorities from the business community.

Council leader Cllr Spencer Flower, pictured, who will chair the event, said: “It’s absolutely vital that we do everything we can to support businesses to thrive and prosper, as well as encouraging new businesses to come to Dorset.”

The councillor added: “Job opportunities, skills and training and economic prosperity are all essential in helping communities to thrive and ensuring local people have a good quality of life.

“I'm really looking forward to talking with business representatives, hearing about what they think is important and working with them to meet some of the challenges we all face.”

This year, the council’s net budget will reduce by £13.6 million to £269.1 million and councillors will make decisions about proposals for savings on February 13.

Over the next three years, additional savings of around £50million are likely to be needed, even with a modest increase in council tax of around two per cent per annum.

Any business can have its say - for more information, visit to complete a survey by January 31.

Feedback from the event and the survey will be presented to councillors when they discuss the proposed budget at their meeting.