Budget proposals for next financial year

Bristol City Council has released its detailed budget proposals for the next financial year. They have been considered at the Council’s Cabinet on 27th January, and then at full Council on 22nd February which you can watch in a live webcast

The key elements of the papers are:

  • Council Tax bills will be frozen – in recognition of the tough economic times facing families throughout Bristol, this will be the first time in ten years that residents will not see an increase in their bills
  • £28 million savings will be required next year alone, due to reductions in central Government funding. This amounts to around 7% of the Council’s budget (or £1 out of every £14). The savings required over the next four years put together are predicted to be £70m (including this first year’s £28 million). Included in these headline reductions in Government funding, is a loss to Bristol in specific grants – requiring savings of £3 million in Early Intervention Grant areas next year alone.
  • The plans also cope with unavoidable cost pressures – such as increasing budget for children in care placements by £1.7 million (following growth in children taken into care after the Baby P case in London)
  • The Council has argued Bristol’s case hard with Government, as have other councils. This has included traveling to Whitehall last week to seek to persuade ministers. Despite this, it looks like Bristol will be taking more than its share of funding reductions from Government, so that other Councils (e.g. Dorset, Wokingham and Surrey County Council) will see their funding reductions phased in more gently over several years.
  • In deciding which savings to put forward, the Council is seeking as far as possible to protect front-line services and the most vulnerable service users. This has been achieved by finding as much as possible from finding efficiencies in the way the Council works, reducing overheads, and cutting management costs – together amounting to over 80% of the savings.
  • The Council predicted this situation and began preparations a year ago (well ahead of the General Election) in light of the general economic situation – freezing vacancies, finding efficiencies, spending within our means (tightening belts to bring in the current year’s budget without overspends). When staff have left the Council, rather than replacing them, the Council has generally frozen the vacancies (except for instance in vital areas, such as children’s social workers). When those vacant posts are now being cut, there are therefore no redundancy bills to pay. As a result, far fewer staff will be facing the prospect of compulsory redundancy than would otherwise be the case.
  • The resulting jobs impact for Bristol City Council will see around 340 posts go, of which around 180 are likely to come through vacancies, redeployment and natural wastage, with fewer than half (160) potentially facing redundancy (out of a workforce of around 8,900, excluding school staff). In comparison Manchester City Council has just announced 2,000 jobs to go, and Hull City Council 1,400.
  • The budget proposals reflect a clear focus on the Council’s priorities – maintaining the year-on-year improvement in educational attainment; looking after the most vulnerable in society; and attracting jobs and investment to Bristol.

    Picture of Barbara Janke

    Cllr Barbara Janke - Leader of the Council

Leader of the Council Barbara Janke said

In tough times for the public sector, the budget we’re proposing manages to protect as far as possible the front-line services serving the most

vulnerable people in the city – sometimes even increasing the funding, in areas like children taken into care. We’re also recognising the pressures on hard-pressed families by freezing Council Tax bills. We are managing to do all of this whilst cutting only 340 jobs – and most of them without compulsory redundancies. When other city councils are slashing many times more jobs, we’ve achieved this balance because we have found efficiencies and cut back on management and bureaucratic costs – and because we had the foresight to begin to tighten our belts over a year ago.

Follow the budget debate by watching our live webcasts

The budget has been discussed in these meetings.  You can jump to the agenda point by clicking on ‘index points’ in the webcast player.

View the full budget proposals

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Ask Bristol from Bristol City Council provides a range of e-participation tools to make it easier for citizens to get involved in local democracy and raise issues with the council. Ask Bristol includes: webcasting; a consultation finder listing all the council's consultation in one place on the web; a wordpress-powered discussion site and online polling and surveys

2 thoughts on “Budget proposals for next financial year

  1. Looking at the proposals a lot has been achieved with good housekeeping but there is an absence of radical vision. Take social services, a radical vision would be the protection of children, the homeless and adults with severe learning difficulties and the abandonment of all other forms of social work interventions. A radical vision of libraries would be a joint venture with a commercial partner to convert them into combined learning centres and communications shops selling apple ipods/ tablets etc so reducing running costs. Also the selling smaller library sites in favour of a mobile only service will reduce costs. Youth Services and Leisure Centres could be transferred and premises their leased to community charities with seconded staff to help them operate. Planning could be relaxed with mainly on-line applications where, provided evidence of compliance with Party Wall requirements etc is provided, they are approved with minimum review. Whilst housing could be transferred to social enterprise via tenant associations and registered social landlords. Good housekeeping will only get you so far.

  2. How does this…

    “City Council budget approved
    Release Date: 23-Feb-2011

    Bristol City Council has this evening agreed its budget for the next financial year.

    The key elements are:

    Council Tax bills will be frozen.
    £28 million savings will be required next year due to reductions in central Government funding. This amounts to around 7% of the Council’s budget (or £1 out of every £14).

    The resulting jobs impact for Bristol City Council will see around 340 posts go”.

    Equate with this?…

    “School leavers invited to apply for apprenticeships
    Release Date: 17-Mar-2011

    Bristol City Council has opened applications for its latest round of apprenticeships.

    Young people who are looking to earn while they learn are invited to get on board with the Bristol Apprenticeship Programme. The council is particularly keen to encourage recent school leavers to apply for this latest round of posts.

    Jobs are available in a range of areas, from youth workers and administrators, to mechanics and technical support in schools and garages.

    Apprentices are paid £95 per week, which rises in the second year, plus travel expenses”.

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