Proposals published for Budget Council 2018/19
Councillors meet to discuss the council budget for the year ahead
The council’s biggest annual financial decision will be made when councillors meet to discuss the budget for the year ahead. Budget Council meets on Thursday 22 February.
The council budget funds more than 700 services for people living and working in Brighton & Hove. It currently costs just under £2.1 million to run our services every day.
When the initial budget proposals for 2018/19 were released last November, Councillor Warren Morgan, leader of the council, raised concerns that local authorities were close to breaking point.
Today Councillor Morgan said: “Like all councils, the money we get from Government is being cut while our costs are going up. Here in Brighton & Hove we've taken action to keep services going and keep redundancies to an absolute minimum.
“Elsewhere, the rapidly rising cost pressures of social care are pushing councils into serious difficulty. This is despite many councils having to impose significant council tax rises because of the cuts.
“Our four year financial plan means we are managing for now, but we can't continue like this for very long without a change in policy nationally.
“Meanwhile our budget proposals for the coming year ensure that once again we are protecting services for our most vulnerable residents, getting basic services right for our communities, and growing our local economy so that everyone benefits.”
The proposals include recommendations to invest in priority services, including adult social care, children’s social care and other services to combat inequality.
Protecting the vulnerable:
- An extra £6 million for adult social care
- An extra £3 million for children’s social care services to support increasing demands and costs of caring for children in care
- Council nurseries, children’s centres and services for Care Leavers protected
- £156,000 funding to tackle criminal exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults
- £165,000 additional funding to provide support for rough sleepers
- An additional £400,000 for support and advice for vulnerable people impacted by welfare reforms
Getting the basics right:
- Building much needed new homes on council-owned land through the New Homes for Neighbourhoods council house building programme and the affordable housing joint venture. There's over £95 million currently allocated for schemes on site and in the pipeline
- For the third year running, no libraries are proposed to be closed
- All 19 of the council’s subsidised bus routes protected for the next four years
- Parking charges are largely frozen for the coming year
- Investment in park and street scene improvements (including more Big Belly bins) and Hove Station footbridge]
- New council “community troubleshooters”, helping bring council services closer to communities and getting earlier resolution of neighbourhood issues
- Continuing to improve our online services through our Digital First programme, including replacing our website
- Reducing our management costs
Growing the local economy:
- Investment capital to look after the city’s assets, to support the local economy by attracting visitors, and to make Brighton & Hove a better place for residents to live
- Schemes totalling £30 million, including capital funds gained by reducing our use of council buildings, for example an upgraded two storey Shelter Hall, Brighton Town Hall redevelopment, Valley Gardens, the Royal Pavilion Estates, Preston Barracks and the Madeira Terraces
- We will also be investing in a major street lighting improvement programme
Funding our services
The cost of all services in the current 2017/18 budget is £756 million, of which Council Tax funds only 17%. This means that Council Tax provides less than £1 in every £5 of what we spend on running your services in our city.
The council’s budget is also partly funded by government grants which have been reducing substantially in recent years. The Revenue Support Grant, previously a major funding source for the council, has been reduced by a further £7.5 million in 2018/19 on top of £42 million reductions over the last three years.
In common with many local authorities, the budget proposals for 2018/19 require an increase of council tax by 5.99%, largely in light of the increasing demand for social care and reducing grants.
This would mean the average Band D Council Tax would rise by £87.57 to £1,549.07 in 2018/19.
In Brighton & Hove we’ve been preparing for the rising pressures and we’re changing how we run the council to reduce costs. We’ve reduced council costs by around £64 million in the last three years; the figure is £97 million over the last five years.
The budget will be debated by all 54 councillors on Thursday 22 February at Hove Town Hall.
Find more information about our budget, including a timeline for the budget setting process, at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/bhbudget