Budget balances investment in services against ongoing financial challenges
Birmingham City Council has published its latest financial plan.
The plan aims to balance a significant programme of investment, transformation and support for the most vulnerable against continued financial challenges due to ongoing government funding cuts and growing demand for services.
The council has already saved around £690 million since 2010 and must now deliver further savings of £85 million over the next four years, including £46 million for 2019/20.
The latest financial plan, which goes to Cabinet on 12 February before going to Full Council for final approval on 26 February, follows an extensive public consultation late last year which specifically covered £18 million of proposed new savings.
Following the consultation, a number of changes have been made to the proposals, including:
- The retention of school crossing patrols at priority sites;
- No longer proceeding with plans to charge for rat treatments;
- Reducing the proposed cut in arts funding to £0.5m, with the creation of a £2m Arts Endowment Fund to help support organisations to become self-sustaining.
The plan also sets out how the council intends to manage its budget through a long-term programme of change to modernise and redesign services, moving the focus away from direct service delivery to a partnership-led approach which will help people access services in their own communities and become more independent.
There is also a commitment to stronger financial governance, with potential risks being identified and planned for.
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is the most challenging period in the council’s history but we continue to invest in the vital services that the people of Birmingham rely on, as well as continuing to attract investment, create jobs, build homes and protect the most vulnerable in our city.
“Tough decisions have had to be made, but these decisions have been shaped by the feedback we have received through our consultation.
“I want to thank everyone who took the time to have their say on our proposals. As you can see, we have listened and we have made changes to our proposals to reflect what you’ve told us.”