Top facts about the budget
- Councillors will soon meet to decide funding for more than 700 council services and the council tax rate for the year ahead
- The annual council budget covers everything we do as a council and sets out how services are funded for residents in the year ahead
- This is a budget being set during a crisis – a health crisis, a housing crisis and a climate and biodiversity emergency
- The budget proposes a 1.99% Council Tax increase to meet these pressures and an additional 3% precept ring-fenced to respond to the increasing costs of adult social care.
- The proposed Capital Investment Programme for 2021/22 is over £221 million and includes over £70 million for additional and better housing.
- Council tax currently provides less than £1 in every £5 of what we spend on running services in our city
- Councillors will debate and vote on the budget proposals on Thursday 25 February 2021
Budget decision time
The council’s biggest annual financial decision will be made this week when councillors meet virtually to decide the council budget for the financial year starting on 1 April.
The council provides more than 700 services that residents, visitors and businesses of the city see or use every day, paid for by the annual council budget. It takes just over £2million to run our services every day for the city’s population of almost 300,000 people and the costs are rising.
Councillor David Gibson, joint lead councillor for finance, said: “Deciding the budget is one of the most important decisions the council can make. The council takes very seriously how public finances are spent and managed each year.”
“These proposals present a balanced budget despite the unprecedented challenges posed by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s a pandemic budget which aims to protect jobs and services and lay the foundations for recovery by investing in additional housing and creating jobs that will help work towards a sustainable future and being carbon neutral by 2030.”
Councillor Tom Druitt, joint lead councillor for finance, added: “Following years of reductions in government funding, the continued absence of any government plan for the funding of social care and cost pressures across the council, Brighton & Hove has to find £22million in the next year simply to stand still.
“As a result there are some very difficult decisions to make, but throughout the budget-setting process our priorities are to maintain services for the most vulnerable, prioritise funding for children and young people, and to focus efforts on the Covid response and our future recovery, the homelessness crisis and the climate emergency.”
Supporting the city’s recovery and renewal
The budget proposals have been developed to support the council’s agreed 2020-2023 Corporate Plan priorities and sets out how we will support a fairer, healthier and more sustainable city for 2021/2022.
The proposed Capital Investment Programme for 2021/22 is over £221 million and includes over £70 million for additional and better housing.
The proposals include:
- A city to call home – investing in new housing and homelessness prevention including increased funding for temporary and emergency accommodation.
- A city working for all – continuing support for the city’s recovery and renewal as it comes out of the pandemic while also providing funding for supporting the recovery of the arts and culture sector and investment into community wealth building.
- A sustainable city – supporting the city’s Climate Assembly action plan and creating a £1m Carbon Reduction Reserve to provide for and advance initiatives to support the aim of a carbon neutral city by 2030, improving the sustainability and biodiversity of the city, as well as the health and wellbeing of its residents through promoting active travel, investing in green spaces and tree planting, and improving air quality, for example, through the School Streets and Low Traffic Neighbourhood initiatives.
- A stronger city – supporting graffiti removal and community clean ups, as well as rubbish removal from the A27 to support a better environment and attract people to the city, including supporting our Arts Sector Recovery plan and beginning restoration of Madeira Terraces.
- A growing and learning city – investment in youth services and youth engagement. The budget also proposes investments to continue to tackle inequality and disadvantage including responding to disadvantage among young people, BAME initiatives and race education.
- A healthy and caring city – investing in adults and children’s social care services to help vulnerable people and to meet ever growing demands which have been rising for many years and have increased even further during the pandemic. This includes additional provision for supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse.
The proposals outline a savings programme of £10.644m to contribute to meeting increased costs. For example, Adult Social Care costs alone will increase by nearly £16 million.
The budget proposes a 1.99% Council Tax increase to meet these pressures and an additional 3% precept ring-fenced to respond to the increasing costs of Adult Social Care.
Council Tax accounts for less than one fifth of overall council spending with the rest coming from grants, business rates, fees, charges, commercial rents and other income streams.
This would mean the average Band D Council Tax contribution to the council would rise by £82.77 to £1,741.88 in 2021/22.
The full amount for the average Band D Council tax for 2021/22 will be £2,054.22 (a rise of £99.67 from the year before). This includes £214.91 for the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner and £97.43 for the East Sussex Fire Authority.
Funding services for the future
The full budget proposals can be read here.
You can watch councillors discuss these proposals live on Thursday 25 February from 4.30pm here.
At the meeting, all political groups and opposition councillors can present and debate any amendments to the budget proposals they choose.