A new consultation has been launched today (Tuesday 6 November) by Bristol City Council to gather views on options for the level of Council Tax from April 2019.
As part of the council’s 2019/2020 budget planning, the authority will be consulting on a number of options ranging from no rise in council tax through to a 4% increase. Every 1% increase in Council Tax would raise approximately £2m to support the delivery of services and would add approximately 31p/week to the Council Tax bill for band D properties.
The 4% option would include 1% reserved to help pay for adult social care through the social care precept* and would help pay for social care services to the city’s most vulnerable residents.
The implications of each option are explored within the consultation survey – if council tax is not increased then new savings or other sources of funds, such as generating income, will need to be found.
People living in Bristol are being urged have their say on these proposals before the closing date of midnight on Monday 17 December. The consultation survey is available now at www.bristol.gov.uk/budget2019-2020.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Over the past two years we have put a lot of work into getting a tighter grip on the council’s finances so we can make progress with vital improvements needed in the city; more homes, more opportunities for our young people, more school places and a cleaner, healthier Bristol.
“During that time we have had to make some tough decisions about where we spend our budgets to meet the needs of residents without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. We have taken these decisions early in this administration to get us on track to meet our goals such as building more homes. Getting here has not been easy and many challenges posed by government austerity, rising costs and increasing demand for services still lie ahead.
“The council is just one of many city partners who must work together in order to improve the experiences of local people and we have reshaped the council in order to help people get things done. We’d like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in this consultation, which is a chance to have your say about the money we raise through council tax.”
Since 2010 the council has identified over £276m of savings. In line with the proposals agreed in February 2018 by Full Council this includes £41.9m savings which will be made over the course of four years from 2019/20 to 2022/23. This is necessary to address future budget challenges and continue to deliver the services that are valued by Bristol residents.
Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor for Finance and Governance, said: “We’ve had to make a lot of difficult choices over the past couple of years in order to steady the council’s finances and, despite the failure of government to appropriately fund Adult Social Care and Children’s Services, we are succeeding. We are conscious of the impact that council tax increases could have on people, which is why the feedback we receive is important and will have an impact on the budget setting discussions yet to come. I urge everyone in the city to share their thoughts on the different options on the table by 17 December.”
The six week consultation will run from 6 November – 17 December. Comments received through the consultation will be considered as final proposals are being developed.
Both Cabinet and Full Council will consider the feedback from the consultation before a decision is made at their budget setting meetings in January (Cabinet) and February (Full Council) 2019.
You can request alternative formats of this document by contacting the consultation team on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0117 922 2848.
*To help pay for social care services for the city’s most vulnerable residents next year, the council could charge up to 1% extra on top of the Council Tax increase. This is called the social care precept and is currently only available for next year (2019/20).