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South Gloucestershire Draft Budget for 2016/17 Published

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 22/01/2016


Budget papers that set out South Gloucestershire Council’s spending plans for the next financial year have been published ahead of their consideration by the Policy and Resources Committee. The plans will be examined by Members of the Committee on 1 February, with the draft Budget then being formally recommended to Full Council for consideration at its meeting on 17 February.

The Revenue Budget for 2016/17 is projected to be £183.4million. This money is raised from a range of sources, including council tax, business rates and grants from central government. An additional £188.9million is expected to be spent on schools in South Gloucestershire, which is fully funded by government grants.

These figures are based on the Provisional Financial Settlement the council has been provided by the government, however this is still subject to confirmation from Westminster in early February and Members will be advised of the potential impact of any changes once known.

Last year’s Revenue Budget and schools funding figures were £184.3million and £186.4million respectively.

Having frozen council tax rates for the past five years, the proposed budget would see rates rise by a total of 3.99%, which is a comparable rise with many other similar local authorities for the coming year. This is made up two elements, the first of which is a 1.99% rise that will go towards general council services. The second part is a 2% rise, to be levied under new powers given to councils to raise extra money that can only be spent on funding the growing cost of providing adult social care.

Funding received from central government has fallen significantly for next year and the following three years, and there is now a national presumption that council tax will be increased annually to help offset some of this fall.

The rise will mean that the annual South Gloucestershire element of the council tax bill for a Band D property would be £1,295.

The fall in funding from government means the council will continue with its Council Savings Programme (CSP). From 2011 to 2015 we have already saved nearly £45m p.a. in annual spending, through our transformation and council savings programmes. By the end of 2015/16, these programmes are targeted to have delivered £56m p.a. of savings.

Covering the next four years, from 2016/17 to 2019/20, the council has published a provisional savings programme of an additional £23m p.a. of savings. After the council tax increases identified above, the council is still expecting to have identify a further £8m of savings by the end of this decade. The updated CSP comprises a wide range of projects and, as in the past, the council will consult widely with staff and the public on any proposals that involve changes to the level of or way in which services are provided.

Where possible these savings proposals have sought to protect services to the most vulnerable across South Gloucestershire, through looking at efficiencies in the way the council operates and uses its buildings and technology first. This level of savings will however lead to some changes to front line services. The proposals have sought to maintain a welfare grant scheme, provide additional protection from savings in respect of youth services, and introduce a new bus pass for the blind.

The proposals presented to the Committee include the feedback from the public consultation exercise that the council runs annually as part of the budget-setting process.

These figures show that 68% of respondents were in favour of a council tax rise this year of at least 2%. Asked about the approach the council should take when looking to make the necessary savings in needs to balance the budget, residents and businesses were clearly in favour of actions that supported the most vulnerable and protected front-line services:

•    69% agreed or strongly agreed the council should be “targeting resources on the most vulnerable and people most in need”
•    66% agreed or strongly agreed the council should be “making more services available online”
•    89% agreed or strongly agreed the council should be “Making more efficient use of council assets such as land and buildings”
•    87% agreed or strongly agreed the council should be “changing working practices to make better use of technology and more efficient ways of working”
•    84% agreed or strongly agreed the council should be “working in partnership and sharing services with other councils and public sector agencies”.

The full agenda and papers for the Policy and Resources Committee, which meets at 2pm on Monday 1 February at the Kingswood Civic Centre can be found online by visiting http://council.southglos.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=401&MId=7504

The Full Council meeting, at which the budget will be debated and adopted, will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 17 February at Kingswood Civic Centre. Details and published papers for all South Gloucestershire Council Committee meetings can be found online at www.southglos.gov.uk/council-and-democracy


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