The Brighton & Hove City Council budget for 2016/17 has been set.
An increase of 3.99% in the Brighton & Hove element of the Council Tax was agreed. This includes an additional 2% precept to fund the increasing demands and cost of adult social care.
The budget outlines how the council will make savings of around £20 million in 2016/17 and substantially reduce the funding gap of £68million by 2020.
For the first time ever, this budget has been developed for four years to allow services to plan better for the future. Funding has been allocated around three core areas:
- protecting key services for older people, children and vulnerable residents,
- reviewing the services that we provide for everyone in the city
- and generating income in services, such as the new commercial trade waste service, to allow them to become more self-funding. However this means that tough choices are being proposed in many areas.
Cllr Warren Morgan, leader of the council said: “I am pleased that we have reached agreement on the budget for next year. I recognise that residents will be paying more through the increased council tax but this is a tough time for public services. A reduction of £20million in funding from central government alongside increasing costs means that we have had to take some difficult decisions.
“This budget protects our services wherever we can, builds new services where able, redesigns services where we can do better for less, and joins in new partnerships with the voluntary sector, communities, neighbourhoods and residents, local businesses and not-for-profit trusts. We’re finding new ways of designing services fit for the future and fit for our local need.”
After a lengthy meeting with debate from all parties, an amended budget was passed. The amendments proposed by the Conservatives and agreed by Budget Council included:
- Protect the majority of funding for residential respite and short breaks for children with disabilities
- Protect part of the funding for housing support for those at risk of homelessness
- Maintain the noise patrol service
- Reducing the cuts to spending on public conveniences
- Increase the resources available for verge cutting
- Protect the majority of funding for contracts to support mental health services
- Maintain funding for the community grants programme
Since 2012/13 the council has delivered around £75m of savings, including £21m savings in the current financial year, 2015/16.
- Support Functions review saving £2million
- Management cost reductions £1.9million as part of service redesigns
- Learning Disabilities review of high cost provision saving £2million
- Learning Disabilities review of high cost day services saving £580,000
- Consultation on Tower House day service with a decision in April 2016
- Special Educational Needs review and redesign saving £500,000
- Youth Services review saving £400,000
- Introducing commercial activities at City clean (textile recycling, MOTs, trade waste collection) saving £135,000
- Efficiencies in Cityclean staffing costs saving £450,000
- Improving income and efficiency across the Royal Pavilion and Museums saving £205,000 while we work toward trust status with the Brighton Dome
- Modernising the and extending opening hours of Libraries Extra service saving £309,000 and extending opening hours
- Savings from the approved changes to the Council Tax Reduction scheme of £540,000
- Rationalising council buildings saving £330,000
- Toilet investment and closures: Investing £550,000 in toilets over the next four years and aiming to invest £1.5 million over the next 10 years
- Protect one off funding for the Playbus for one year of £75,000
- Read the Budget papers
- We’ve made a short animation to make it easier to understand the council budget
- Follow the Brighton & Hove City Council budget discussion on twitter at #bhbudget