Have your say on the proposed updated financial plan 2018-19 to 2020-21
The Council is updating its budget plan for 2018-19 and 2019-20, and also including predicted spending levels up to 2020-21. They are consulting on these proposals and there is a great deal of information on these pages to help you learn more.
The Council continues to operate in a very challenging financial environment. Since 2010, the Council has made £255.8m of budget savings, and has invested £48m into priority areas largely to help cover increasing demand for social care services arising from demographic growth.
Council tax has also been increased, without which the cuts would have been nearly £21.6 million higher.
The Government has said that it will make more cuts to council funding and stop paying councils general grants for local services by 2020. In future the money will have to be found locally through Council tax, business rates and charges.
It is estimated that a further £30.7 million of cuts will have to be found by 2020, on top of further increases in Council tax. This amounts to £7.1 million in 2018-19 and £23.6 million in 2019-20.
The money can only be found by cutting spending or increasing the Council’s income or increasing Council tax.
The Council has already made over £130 million of savings since 2010 by improving efficiency, renegotiating contracts and cutting management and administration costs. This has helped to protect services; however, the scope for future savings is getting more limited, and is dwarfed by the scale of public spending cuts. We will continue to work to drive down costs but it is not possible to make further efficiency savings on the scale needed to balance the Council’s books.
In February 2018, the Council will meet to decide its budget and spending plans for 2018-19 and 2019-20. Councillors will face very difficult decisions.
At its meeting on 5th December 2017 the Council’s Executive committee recommended its Proposed Financial Plan updated 2018-19 to 2020-21 and Council tax proposals for consultation. Read the Executive’s Proposed Financial Plan updated 2018-19 to 2020-21 here.
The budget proposals for 2018-19 and 2019-20 will be subject to widespread public consultation, a separate document listing the proposals which are subject to consultation can be viewed by visiting: Budget Proposals 2018-19 2019-20 for consultation.
Savings agreed by Budget Council at its February 2017 meeting have already been subject to consultation. However there are some revisions to previously agreed decisions, and the list of proposals indicates where these require further consultation. There are also some new proposals.
Bradford Council have made some adjustments to the financial plan agreed in February 2017, due to the continuing pressure on social care in both adults’ and children’s services. Spending on social care must not exceed the sums now allocated to these services; if it does then they will have to reduce funding for other services.
The proposed updated financial plan 2018-19 to 2020-21 also makes funding available to deliver a targeted plan to increase the Council’s income and deliver social value. The three key components of the plan are:
- additional investment to stimulate house-building
- additional intervention to stimulate business rate growth
- a fund to invest in income-generating assets.
This investment is designed to help increase the locally raised revenue available to support Council services as Government funding continues to reduce.
The updated financial plan proposes to increase Council Tax by a total of 4.99% in 2018-19 (equivalent to £62.76 on a Band D property). Without this increase they would have to save a further £8.8 million, cutting deeper into our valued services. Also included in this increase is the social care charge (known as the Adult Social Care Precept) to the Government’s maximum of 3% which equates to £5.3 million. However, Bradford still has the lowest Council tax in West Yorkshire.
The budget proposals also assume a further Council Tax increase of 1.99% in 2019-20 and 2020-21. They also assume Bradford Council will implement changes to the Council Tax Reduction scheme, which provides help to some people with paying their Council Tax, raising a net £3.4m a year.
The Report to Executive also shows the forecast position for 2020-21, when it is estimated that further savings of £37 million will be required. The Council agreed with central government a four year settlement that included the financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20 which set out the expected reduction in Revenue Support Grant (RSG). However, the government has previously stated that the ‘core’ grant will be phased out by 2020 so there is no certainty on the size or structure of local government funding beyond April 2020.
In recent years the Council has used its reserves in various ways to cover ‘one off’ costs and to help smooth the transition to having smaller budgets overall. This financial plan sets aside a further £0.2 million for use in 2018-19 and 2019-20. This will leave us with £15.5 million pounds of unallocated reserves to help deal with possible uncertainties in the future.
Our financial planning also incorporates the recent proposals around Prevention and Early Help services. These are subject to a separate consultation that concludes on 12th February 2018.
The Council wants you to have your say on the Executive’s proposals for spending and local taxes and tell us what matters most to you, give us your ideas about what could change, how we could increase income and what part you and others could play in meeting the challenges our district faces.
Working together with individuals, families, communities and each other our public services, voluntary and community sector and businesses can achieve far more than any single organization working alone so we must harness all the district’s assets and resources in pursuit of our shared objectives.