Due to cuts in government funding, and no funding to meet increasing demand for care services or inflation, the council has had to find £159m since 2010. And by 2021 we will have to save at least another £21 million. At the same time, demand on services is growing as people live longer and the borough’s population continues to grow.
We want to protect services for vulnerable people, such as social care for children and adults, whilst also doing our best to maintain other services such as waste and recycling collection, street cleaning and roads maintenance.
By law, we are required to set a balanced budget at the start of every financial year (April to March). We also forecast an estimated budget position for each of the following three years. This approach means we can better plan for the future. We have shared our budget with local community and voluntary organisations, and residents and businesses.
The budget was ratified at Full Council on Monday 24 February 2020. You can read the committee meeting papers on our democracy, elections and civic section.
What do we do for you and our communities?
We provide lots of services that people see, like emptying your bins, cutting grass, clearing litter and mending roads.
But we also provide a lot of services which many people don’t see and which require far more money than providing many of our common day-to-day services. For example, we:
- look after vulnerable children who need our help
- we care for people with mental health issues or problems getting around
- we support elderly people to stay as happy and independent at home as possible
- we help families with housing problems to prevent them becoming homeless
Looking after children and people who need care in their own home takes up around two thirds of our budget – more than we collect in council tax each year.
Council funding explained
Our income comes from:
- council tax
- business rates – we get to keep a third
- fees and charges for council services
We used to receive money from the government, which used to make up a large proportion of our money, but that has been reduced since the government started its austerity programme in 2010.
Every year the amount that the council needs goes up because of things like wage rises, inflation and increasing numbers of people needing our help.
This means we have to think about what services we can afford to keep providing.