Council Business Plan and Budget 2013+
A new administration and new priorities
Following the local elections in May 2012, Birmingham City Council had a change in administration and, with it, a new vision and a new set of priorities for the city.
The council’s vision is to make Birmingham
An inclusive city in which many more people can play their part – a fair chance for everyone in Birmingham.
The council has three key priorities:
1. Tackling inequality and deprivation; promoting social cohesion across all communities in Birmingham; and ensuring dignity, particularly for our older people; and safeguarding for children.
2. Laying the foundations for a prosperous city, built on an inclusive economy.
3. Involving local people and communities in the future of their local area and their public services – a city with local services for local people.
Key aims for the city include making Birmingham an ‘entrepreneurial city’, a ‘smart city’ and a ‘green city’.
Birmingham’s budget challenge
Birmingham City Council is facing an extremely tough financial challenge.
In 2010, as part of the Spending Review, the government announced its plan for reducing the national financial deficit. Funding to local authorities will be reduced by 28% from 2011 to 2015 after taking account of inflation and, in fact, some grants have been stopped altogether. Some large cities, including Birmingham, have been hit hard.
In the last two years, the Government has reduced its grants to Birmingham City Council by over £140m. That is a reduction of 14%.
For 2013/14 general grants have been cut by a further £27m. Over a six-year period, from 2010/11 to 2016/17, it is forecast that the general Government grants to Birmingham City Council will reduce by at least £300m.
At the same time, the council has to pay for unavoidable cost increases due to inflation, changes in legislation, the changing needs of local people and financing costs. These are expected to cost at least £315m extra by the end of 2016/17.
The combined impact of grant reduction and rising local costs means the council will have to make cuts of around £615m by 2016/17.
The task for 2013/14 is to save around £102m in addition to the £275m saved in the previous two years.
In order to decide where budget cuts should be made the council carried out a consultation with local people, employees and other organisations. Hundreds of comments were received and these were all passed to councillors to help them make decisions on the budget for 2013/14.
There will be no increase in the city council’s element of Council Tax for 2013/14.
The council has chosen to accept a Government grant to freeze Council Tax at the same level as 2012/13. This will produce the best financial outcome for the city council next year, as well as for the city’s taxpayers.
Planning for the future
In recent years, efficiency savings have been made and these have helped to bridge the financial gap. This is no longer enough. Over the next few years services will need to change and, indeed, some may need to be discontinued.
The financial challenge facing local councils may be the end of local government as we know it and may change its relationship with its citizens.
This means that Birmingham City Council will need to continue to adapt and make changes to services and how they are run. The council will look at involving citizens much more in shaping and delivering services where possible, and in some areas decommission services altogether.
However, despite any cuts that need to be made the council’s key aim will be to ensure that it makes the best use of resources for those most in need – protecting those local people who are the most vulnerable.
Council Business Plan 2013+
PDF attached (Business Plan and Budget 2013+ City Council 260213 final(1))
Copyright: Birmingham City Council