Public Budget Consultation 2020/21

Closed 7 Dec 2020

Opened 7 Nov 2020


This draft budget is the most difficult we have ever had to produce due to the unprecedented times we are currently living in.

The effects of the coronavirus have been enormous, for us as individuals, on our family and our friends, on our communities and on the whole of our borough.

As a Council, we have done all we can to help support everyone through this crisis. This has involved:

  • Working with partners to set up our community hubs that helped 6,000 vulnerable residents with access to food, prescriptions and financial support.
  • Setting up a hotline that enabled 8,000 callers to get help.
  • Providing PPE to care homes to ensure staff and residents could be protected.
  • Helping out with government initiatives to provide £48m to local businesses, while also enabling more people to have 100% relief on their Council Tax.

At the same time, our revenues from things such as car parking, registrar services, licensing and school catering have also been hit due to Covid restrictions.

The last decade has seen a series of major cuts to Council budgets, which we have managed through a reduction in our spending and by making savings and efficiencies. However, these cuts have given us very little room to be able to make further savings or reduce our spending during a financial crisis. By law, we are also required to balance the budget every year. Therefore we are in the extremely difficult situation of having to deal with a large but necessary increase in spending, while also dealing with a reduction in our revenue.

As a result, we need to make up a budget shortfall of £37m for the next financial year, with more than £15m of that due to direct pressures caused by the coronavirus.

We are using £15m from our reserves, which we had prudently set aside to help us in times like these. Our draft budget proposals also include a mix of proposals across the breadth of council services totalling £14m and whilst all attempts have been made to avoid impacting on public facing services, sadly we are still having to make some very tough choices and we would like your views on those decisions that could affect you.

In addition, the plans include for a proposed increase of 3.99% in the council tax, with 1.99% being the rise in Council Tax and 2% being the Social Care precept. This will generate £4m, subject to confirmation by Government in December on the limits on council tax increases. Without this increase, further reductions would need to be made to council services. The proposals still leave a small budget gap and further work to address this will be undertaken before the final budget proposals are considered in February 2021.