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How does the budget add up

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, writes on this year’s budget-setting process…

We have an annual budget of just under £3.2billion. The likes of inflation and budget pressures – not just including the pandemic – mean there is a need to find £20million of new savings, on top of £21million that were agreed last year that are already set to be delivered in the year ahead.

The £20million of new savings will come from reducing agency staff spending costs and vacancy management.

But ensure the books balance, we also have to consider an increase to Council Tax. In total this would represent a 4.99 per cent increase on the council’s share of the Council Tax bill.

Of this three per cent is ring-fenced as part of the adult social care precept (a mechanism through which the Government enables local councils to raise money for such services rather than directly funding it from central Government grants).

We understand the concern any increase to the bill causes, but if we do not propose this, the savings requirement will grow and have to come from budgets already used to fund vital services and deliver on the priorities outlined earlier.

It is also important to understand more about the profile of the properties we have in the city. In total, 82.5 per cent of homes are in the “below average” Council Tax bands A to C. This means the money we raise via Council Tax in this city is less than in areas where there are more valuable property types.

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