6 February 2015

The way ahead – final council budget proposals for 2015/16

The final proposals for the 2015/16 budget are set out in a report coming to the Policy & Resources committee on 12 February 2015.

The budget report is based on the minority Administration’s referendum budget proposal for a 5.9% council tax increase together with a required substitute budget of 1.99%.

The report also takes into account feedback and evidence received by the council through the consultation and engagement such as Stop, Start, Change on twitter.

Councillor Ollie Sykes, Finance lead said, “Council services are already under huge pressure and the predicted combination of increased demand and reduced funding means savings of £102 million are needed over the next five years. This is on top of £77 million already taken out over the last four years.

Decisions on where to spend less will be tough but we can’t stand still if we are to keep providing the city with public services whilst absorbing the extreme reduction in Government grants.”

Our funding gap

The report sets out an approach which more closely integrates the council’s corporate and financial planning centered around the city’s priorities from the Sustainable Community Strategy: Brighton & Hove - the Connected City:

  • Economy & housing
  • Children & young people
  • Health & wellbeing
  • Community safety & resilience
  • Environmental sustainability

These are explained more fully in the draft Corporate Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2015/16 to 2019/20

Download the report and find out more about the budget on our website at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/bhbudget

Background

The budget is based on the minority Administration’s referendum budget proposal for a 5.9% Council Tax increase together with a required substitute budget of 1.99%. Other options are also provided.

Referendum budget (5.9% Council Tax increase)

The savings requirement for the Referendum Budget is £20.56 million based on a 5.9% Council Tax increase. A Substitute budget also needs to be proposed which would be implemented in the event of a referendum vote not supporting the council tax rise.

Substitute budget (1.99% Council Tax increase)

A 1.99% Council Tax increase, the maximum allowable without triggering a referendum, where the estimated budget savings required in 2015/16 is £24.85 million

Freeze budget (0% Council Tax increase)

A 0% increase in real terms, which is effectively a 1% increase which is funded direct from government through the ‘freeze grant’.

Threshold budget (1.99% Council Tax increase)

A 1.99% Council Tax increase, the maximum allowable without triggering a referendum, where the estimated budget savings required in 2015/16 is £24.85 million. This option uses the Substitute budget savings package and would therefore be the same as the substitute budget proposals with the exception of the difference in one-off costs between these two budget options. The one-off costs comprise the cost of holding the referendum and timing differences for implementation of savings.

Key components of savings proposals for 2015/16
 

  • The delivery of the Phase 4 Value for Money Programme which covers Adult Social Care placement costs, improving management of demand across all social care services, driving through procurement savings, and exploring a wide range of income opportunities to become more self-sustaining. 
  • Re-commissioning of some services, including joining up our approach across Adult Social Care, Housing, Children’s and Public Health as well as integration with health services under the Better Care initiative. 
  • De-commissioning or reducing some services where they are not considered to be the most effective way of achieving outcomes.
  • Service redesign to ensure that our services are responsive to customer needs for example Cityclean and Parks, the fostering and adoption service and the Stop Smoking service.

Investment

As part of the budget package there will continue to be considerable investment in services, particularly early help and prevention,  to support our most vulnerable and measures to support sustainable economic growth in the city.

  • expansion of our Stronger Families, Stronger Communities programme;
  • a focus through the Better Care Fund on both the frail, elderly and vulnerable homeless people;
  • use of ring-fenced Public Health funding to build the intelligence capacity of the council and to support a number of existing council services such as the family nurse partnership and Adult Social Care preventative services.

Current spending

In 2014/15 £2.1 million was spent every day on council services. 

Budget Timetable
 

Date Meeting Papers / activites
12 February 2015 Policy & Resources Committee
  • Month 9 Forecast of 2014/15 budget position
  • General Fund Revenue 2015/16  Budget
  • Housing Revenue Account Budget
  • Housing Revenue Account Capital Programme
  • Capital Programme
26 February 2015 Full Council  

Get full details of the timeline for setting the council budget