The council’s budget
South Gloucestershire Council has been able to protect its service priorities and leave its share of the council tax unchanged for the fifth year running. We will complete a four year programme of reviews and will be delivering £43m p.a. of savings by the end of 2015/16. A new Council Savings Programme has started which aims to deliver a further £36m p.a. savings by 2019/20. The new programme may affect some front line services over the next few years.
The first pie chart below indicates from where the council obtains its funding for 2015/16 – about 21% will come from council tax payers, 7% from business rate payers, 60% from government and 12% from sales, rents, and fees and charges. The second chart shows the services on which the council spends the money – over a third is spent on schools, about a sixth on services for the elderly and those with disabilities, about a sixth on transport, environment and community services, 7% on services for young people other than at school.
The council has consulted residents on its budget proposals. Over 1,500 responded. About half thought the council offered good value for money, most thought the council was right to focus on savings by being more efficient in its use of assets such as land and buildings, changing working practices to make better use of technology and more efficient ways of working, and working in partnership and sharing services with other councils and public sector agencies. All the council’s core activities were supported by the majority of respondents. The highest levels of support were for maintaining safe and clean communities, and safeguarding vulnerable children and adults. The council has recognised these views in setting its budget.
In addition to setting its budget and council tax for 2015/16, the council also looked at the next ten years’ plans. These see funding continue to fall until 2019/20 as the Government seeks to eliminate the national deficit. The council expects that further investment will be needed in services for the over 65’s and for vulnerable young people.
The council recognises the desire for low council tax rises, and has based its current planning assumptions on a fifth year of council tax freezes in 2015/16 followed by 2% p.a. rises from 2016/17. In order to achieve this, the council will need to achieve a further £6m p.a. each year from 2017/18 plus its previously identified savings of £36m p.a. by 2019/20 after which national economic stability is expected. These decisions will be reviewed each year and adjustments made as circumstances change.
The council tax for South Gloucestershire council services has been frozen at the 2010/11 level for a fifth consecutive year.
How the council will finance £522.4 million expenditure in 2015/16
How the council will spend £522.4 million in 2015/16