Bristol City Council has set its 2018/19 budget which focuses on limiting the impact of necessary savings on frontline public services.
The Full Council meeting today (20 February) agreed to prioritise support for vulnerable people by approving a 2% levy ring fenced for essential Adult Social Care services as part of an overall a Council Tax rise of 4.99%.
As a result, the Council Tax element for a Band D property will increase by £6.44 per month, bringing in an extra £9.7m to the council next year. The majority of Bristol residents live in Band A-C properties where the monthly increase will be between £4.29 and £5.72.
Taking into account rises in the Avon Fire Authority and Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner annual precepts the overall Council Tax for a Band D property will rise by £7.61 per month (between £5.07 and £6.76 for Band A-C properties)
Full Council agreed a revenue budget of £355.8m with overall £1.2billion expenditure on day to day council (revenue) services and capital investment funded by a combination of council tax, business rates and other income from service users plus direct government funding for schools.
The budget includes a total of £34.5m annual savings predominantly realised by internal efficiencies including the council’s senior management restructure which, in itself, is saving over £830,000 per annum.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, also accepted several amendments to the budget proposals which were voted for at the meeting:
- Allocating £800,000 to create two small specialist childrens’ homes to help the most vulnerable.
- Increase skip and scaffolding charges and directing the anticipated £100,000 raised to the ‘Local Crisis Prevention Fund’ which provides one-off emergency payments to people in desperate need.
- Allocating £25,000 specialist planning support to look at the impact of student housing on other city communities.
Having already saved made over £200m of savings since 2010, the council needs to save a further £108m by April 2023 due to projected reductions in government funding whilst balancing the needs of Bristol’s growing population and addressing social and economic inequality in the city.
Full Council also approved a refreshed Corporate Strategy 2018-2023 which outlines its key commitments and principles and values founded on a vision to build a city of hope and ambition where everyone can share in its success. The strategy also details how, driven by the ambition to improve outcomes for people across the city and the realities of reductions in public sector funding, the council’s role will change from being the main provider of services to collaborating with partners across the city.
Councillor Craig Cheney, Bristol city council’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance and Performance said:
“Despite the government continuing to force up council tax and hit local people for it's owns failings in dealing with the social care crisis, we have worked incredibly hard this year to limit it's impact on Bristol. Instead we have focused on how the council does things, how we work with the city and how we can generate more income to spend on services, as well using our capital programme to foster inclusive economic growth.
I am pleased Full Council has approved a budget that focuses on minimising the impact on essential frontline services. At the same time we have avoided the maximum council tax rise option so we can leave around £2million in local peoples’ pockets.”