Council budget set for 2018-19

On Thursday, 22 February 2018, Full Council met to set its budget for 2018-19 and agree budget plans for 2019-20.

Consultation on the budget proposals took place with the public via the Council’s website and other channels. Consultation also took place with partners, local businesses, parish and town councils, voluntary and community organisations and other interested parties. We also consulted with the Trade Unions and staff on the potential impact on staff.

By the end of the budget consultation on 28 January 2018, the Council had received comments from 1239 people or groups. Thank you to everyone who gave feedback through this consultation.

Despite the continuing austerity, the Council still has a leading role in the district and a wide range of services to provide. The Council’s gross budget for 2018-19 will total almost £1.2 billion, although this includes ring-fenced grants and money over which the Council has no direct control, such as the maintained schools budget and housing benefit payments.

The Council’s net budget for 2018-19 is £358 million compared to £375 million in 2017-18. The net budget represents the balance of Council spending funded from sources which are not ring-fenced, namely Business Rates, Revenue Support Grant, Council Tax and reserves.

The key features of this budget are:

  • This budget addresses a cumulative funding gap over the next two financial years (2018-19 and 2019-20) of £33.4 million (of which £4 million is still to be identified for 2019-20).
  • Savings set and proposals agreed in the budget Full Council meeting on 22 February 2018 total £6.1 million for 2018-19 and £23.3 million for 2019-20. To fully balance the books in 2019-20 we actually need to make cuts of £27.3 million (see above - £4 million for 2019-20 is still to be identified).
  • Proposals agreed also include £10.1 million cuts for 2020-21. In due course proposals will be developed for 2020-21 which will be subject to detailed consultation at that time as required.
  • Council Tax: Council Tax will be increased by 5.99% in 2018-19 to fund Council services and is proposed to increase again by 1.99% in 2019-20. Longer term savings also assume a further increase of 1.99% in 2020-21.
    • The 5.99% increase in 2018-19 includes a 3% annual increase (called the ‘Adult Social Care precept’) to fund social care costs and 2.99% increase in the basic Council Tax. This will generate a total of £14.3 million over two years.
    • A Council Tax increase of 5.99% in 2018-19 is equivalent to £75.35 on a Band D property.
    • The increase for 2019-20 remains a proposed increase because the Council sets Council Tax annually.
    • This budget also assumes we will implement changes to the Council Tax Reduction scheme, raising a net £3.4 million on a recurring basis.
  • Economic strategy: We are investing in key areas which have emerged since the previous budget (set in February 2017) as needing additional funding. The plan also makes funding available from reserves and within the capital programme, to deliver a targeted plan to grow the Council’s income, aligned with the economic strategy, and to deliver social value. The three key components of the plan are:
    • additional investment to stimulate house-building
    • additional intervention to stimulate business rate growth
    • a fund to invest in income-generating assets.

This investment is designed to help grow our district’s economy and increase the locally raised revenue available to support Council services as Government funding continues to reduce.

  • Children’s and adult’s services: We have made some adjustments to the financial plan agreed in February 2017, due to the continuing pressure on social care in both adults’ and children’s services.
    • We are investing to sustain services to tackle child sexual exploitation.
    • An additional £450,000 a year has been allocated to help meet increasing demand for Children’s social care
    • Furthermore, following public consultation, further investment is proposed to support transition in early help provision, subject to a business case, should a new delivery model be agreed.*

Spending on social care must not exceed the sums now allocated to these services; if it does we will have to reduce funding for other services.

(* Our financial planning incorporates proposals around Prevention and Early Help. This has been subject to a separate consultation that concluded on 12 February 2018.)

The Budget reports show the forecast position for 2020-21 where there are indicative (predicted) cuts required of £43.2 million. The Council has a guaranteed level of Revenue Support Grant (RSG) from the Government up to and including 2019-20, however the level of RSG following that is still unknown. The Government has indicated that it will be cut to zero.

Schools budget

Also at the Full Council meeting of Thursday, 22 February 2018, the Schools Budget was approved in line with the Schools Forum decisions.

Minutes and papers from Council meetings are available from https://bradford.moderngov.co.uk/uuCoverPage.aspx?bcr=1

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