Have your say on the Council’s Proposed Financial Plan and Budget proposals for 2024-25

Have your say on the Council’s Proposed Financial Plan and Budget proposals for 2024-25, and Council Tax proposals now

We are consulting on these proposals. The information on these pages will help you learn more.

The key document you can look at is:

Background

The proposals have been developed under an unprecedented level of financial pressure due mostly to the continued significant increases in children’s and adult social care demand and cost pressures that are consuming an ever-greater proportion of the council’s resources.

Since 2011 Bradford Council has had to find over £350m in cuts and savings due to national austerity measures, inflation and increased demand. More recently exceptional inflation and energy prices have put additional pressure on budgets.

In 2023-24 the council used around £48m of one-off reserves to help balance the budget and pay for children’s social care and other pressures. Costs have continued to grow, and the council is forecast to overspend by about £73m in 2023-24. This therefore results in a budget gap of around £121m in 2023-24.

Financial management

The council has already stopped all non-essential spending, frozen non-essential recruitment and is conducting a full spending review. It is working with the children’s trust to help control and reduce costs, has reviewed reserves and the capital programme, increased fees and charges and begun a wide-ranging transformation programme.

The council is in ongoing talks with the government about exceptional financial support. The budget for 2024-25 will only be able to be balanced with this support. 

The council is working on a multi-year plan to get the council back to a sustainable budget level, and the strategy for achieving this will involve further savings; service transformation in council services and the Bradford Children and Families Trust, generating income from a variety of sources, and regeneration and growth.

Budget position and proposals

The proposals set out the need to make a significant savings, and offers a range of options including: 

  • Closure of a Children’s Outdoor Centre.
  • Closure of three household waste recycling sites.
  • Cuts in funding to libraries and leisure services.
  • Increase in fees and charges across the council.
  • Increase in council tax.

More proposals for further savings will be developed in the coming months to enable the council to reach a balanced budget.

Council Tax proposals

It is proposed that Council Tax is increased by 2.99% and an Adult Social Care precept increase of 2% is levied. Overall, Council Tax would still remain comparatively low compared to other West Yorkshire councils and metropolitan councils. Bradford’s Band D Council tax is 8% below the average for metropolitan authorities and 80% of households in Bradford district are below Band D. The most, therefore, that can be raised through an increase in Council Tax in Bradford, under the current threshold, is £11m a year, which is dwarfed by the scale of the challenges faced.

Consultation and budget setting process

At its meeting on 11 January 2024 the Council’s Executive committee recommended its Proposed Financial Plan and Budget Proposals for 2024-25 (PDF) including Council tax proposals, for consultation.

The budget proposals for 2024-25 will be subject to widespread public consultation, including on this website and on our Let’s Talk Bradford platform. More information about different ways to take part is on About the budget consultation and how to take part.

On 7 March 2024 the Council will meet to decide its budget and spending plans for 2024-25.

Please tell us what you think about the Executive’s proposals. Tell us what matters most to you, give us your ideas about what could change, how we could increase income and what part you and others could play in meeting the challenges our district faces.

Next: About the budget consultation