Bradford Council needs to agree a ‘new deal’ with the people who live and work in the District and use local services.
Like all Councils, Bradford has to cut spending. Government funding for Bradford Council services has been cut by £167.6m in the last few years and the reductions are set to continue.
We also face increased costs and rising demand for services, which puts pressure on services and means that the impact and size of the cuts is even higher. Council tax has increased, but the Council will have to keep on cutting spending in the future.
Between now and 2020 the Council will need to save or find between £125m and £130m to balance the books. That’s over 30% of our current net budget and is on top of the savings already made.
The Council has already identified some of the savings we need to make. As well as making savings the Council has the power to increase fees and charges and raise Council tax to help bridge the funding gap.
There are other issues as well as cuts, for example:
This all puts pressure on services.
The Council already spends about half of the money in its net budget on helping schools, families and young people and giving care and support to children, older and disabled people and people with mental health issues.
So the demand for and cost of services, some of them very expensive, is going up while the money to pay for them is going down. Business as usual is not an option.
The Council has already found over £112 million by improving productivity, cutting management and back office costs and making services a lot more economical to run. We’ll keep working hard to cut costs but all organisations have some running costs and there are far fewer savings that can now be made in those areas.
Other organisations that provide public services like the Police and NHS also have to make savings. So we all need to work together to make the most of all our resources.
The Council has tried not to make cuts to the “frontline” services that people need.
But the Council cannot afford all the services it currently pays for so some will have to reduce, some will have to stop and some will have to be done differently.
The Council has increased Council Tax raising £7.5m. Without the increase the Council would have to make even more cuts to services to balance its books.
The way that things are done will have to change, for example, people will have to work together with local services to do more for themselves and their communities. This might involve them getting involved in running some services.
The Council has had to ask more people to pay for, or pay more for, services and might have to consider bringing in more new or increased charges for some services.
Some services will have to stop but by changing things now we might be able to keep some that would be at risk if we did nothing.