Spending proposals for more than 700 city services, as well as funding for key projects in Brighton & Hove, have been published outlining plans for the council’s 2022-2023 budget.
Councillor Tom Druitt, joint finance lead said: “Developing these proposals has been incredibly challenging. Since 2010 the government has reduced the annual funding available to the council by more than £100m.
"Against a backdrop of increasing demand for council services and all the responsibilities of dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, the situation is more difficult than ever before.
“Our priorities are the protection of services for the most vulnerable, supporting the city’s recovery from the pandemic, and investing for the future. The council’s budget for 2021-2022 was £825.6 million.
"But with savings of around £16 million needed to ensure the council remains on a strong footing for the next financial year and can meet inflationary pressures and growing demands, there will be difficult decisions to make.”
Speaking about the figures, Councillor David Gibson, joint finance lead commented “Council finances remain under incredible pressures. We continue to see rising demand for our services and greater need for council support and leadership to tackle a series of unprecedented crises and challenges than ever before.
“At the same time the cost of providing council services continues to rise. That’s why we’re doing what it takes to close the budget gap and balance the books.”
£12.1 million - total estimated pressures from increased costs and demands over next year.
£2.2 million - expected short-term Covid-19 pandemic pressures.
2.99% - the total increase in Council Tax for the year ahead will be 2.99% if the usual 1.99% rise and the Adult Social Care precept (see below) are both taken up by the council.
1.00% - the government has allowed councils that provide social care to adults to increase their Council Tax by a further 1% for each of the next 3 years. This Council Tax charge is called the Adult Social Care precept (and is included in the total expected Council Tax rise percentage shown above).
£100 million - the total reduction in central government funding over the past 10 years.
Investing in a fairer city and a sustainable future
The council’s 2022-2023 budget proposals outline major investments into several priority areas. Councillor Hannah Clare, Deputy Leader of the Council said: “We can’t ignore the challenges the city faces.
"That’s why when making these tough decisions we’ve prioritised our spending and investments into our vision for a fairer city with a more sustainable future, helping those most in need and supporting the city’s recovery from the global pandemic.”
The investments over the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 financial years include:
- More than £1 million into housing including increased provision for Temporary Accommodation to support vulnerable residents.
- Nearly £3 million towards a ‘city working for all’, including seafront improvements such as our heritage lighting and Madeira Terraces, as well as increased investments in public toilets, parks and sporting facilities.
- At over £7 million, there is substantial investment being put toward children and family services and adult social care to help meet growing demands and working towards a healthy and caring city. The investment covers mental health services, physical and learning disability services and will support the most vulnerable and care for people in times of need.
- Significant investment is in tackling the climate and biodiversity emergency through climate action and sustainability work. More than £10 million is being invested in areas such as tree management and planting, the Carbon Neutral 2030 programme, the Warmer Homes scheme, open spaces and active travel initiatives, and increasing the number of allotments in the city.
The whole proposed budget package will eventually be presented to Budget Council on Thursday 24 February. They will be put to all 54 councillors for consideration to try to set the budget for the year ahead. Key dates:
- Thursday 10 February - final budget proposals to Policy & Resources Committee for recommendation to Budget Council
- Thursday 24 February: Budget Council
More about the budget
The council provides more than 700 services residents of the city see or use every day, paid for by the annual council budget. It takes just over £2 million to run our services every day for the city’s population of almost 300,000 people. Every year the costs continue to rise for a wide range of reasons, including an increasing population and number of households needing services.
Budget Council in February also sets Council Tax for the city for the year ahead. Council Tax currently provides less than £1 in every £5 of what we spend on running services in our city.