Financial plans for the next five years have been agreed by Bath & North East Somerset Council's Cabinet.
Support for vulnerable people will be prioritised as the Council continues to look for innovative ways of transforming its delivery of other services, finding further savings and capitalising on opportunities for earning income.
But Bath & North East Somerset Council says it will have to make difficult financial decisions over the coming years as it seeks to continue to balance its budget.
Councillor Tim Warren, the Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We’ve been upfront about the challenges facing us. In Bath & North East Somerset currently, 75 pence out of every pound in our budget is spent on adult social care and children’s services.
“We predict this will rise to a minimum of 80 pence in every pound by the end of the year and could rise higher. In addition, demand for services and costs are rapidly rising, while the grant received from the Government continues to reduce. This is happening as part of the effort to reduce the national deficit.”
Cllr Charles Gerrish (Conservative, Keynsham North) Cabinet Member for Finance & Efficiency, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council continues to be regarded as a good authority in key areas and has avoided the stringent cuts to frontline services that other local authorities also responsible for delivering social care have made.
“But it is clear that we will continue to need to scrutinise expenditure and press ahead with the transformation of how we deliver services. To succeed, we will need the help of the local community in ensuring we get help to those in greatest need.
“Despite these challenges, we are on track to deliver £13.7m of savings this year and the Council is continuing to find new and innovative ways to generate more of its own income to invest in local services. For example, we are generating an additional £1.7 million in commercial income this year and are continuing to look for investment opportunities that generate a good rate of return for local taxpayers.”
B&NES will now look to replace lost grant funding with money from the Business Rates growth, New Homes Bonus, commercial income and further efficiencies.
The Council needs to save a further £16.2m by April 2020. This is on top of the £14.8m worth of savings already planned over the same period. These savings are part of a successful four- year programme (2016-2020) to achieve a total of £42m which includes an extra £7m from commercial and trading income.
Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet today (11 October) approved an updated five-year financial plan. The new plan includes a review of priorities to look at whether further savings can be made, targeting capital spending to priority areas, maximising contract savings and income opportunities, reviewing the options for additional shared services and more closely managing demand in our “demand-led” services such as children and adult care. The amended plan will be reviewed annually.
The Council wants to hear local people’s views on how best it can balance its budget to ensure it continues to protect the most vulnerable in while investing for the future.
Share your ideas at one of the Council’s Forums in November and December:
- 15th Nov – Freshford Village Memorial Hall, 6pm
- 22nd Nov – The Kaposvar Room, Guildhall, Bath, 6pm
- 27th Nov – Council Chamber, Guildhall, Bath, 6pm
- 29th Nov – Midsomer Norton Town Hall (TBC), 6pm
- 30th Nov – Community Space, Keynsham, 6:30pm
- 4th Dec – Chew Valley School, Chew Magna, 6pm.
For more details please see the Cabinet agenda papers, available via: https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=4653.