Key points from Bristol City Council’s detailed budget proposals for the next financial year. They will be considered at the Council’s Cabinet on 27th January, and then at full Council on 22nd February.
* Council Tax bills will be frozen.
* £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 travelling 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.
* 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.
* 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 7,000, excluding school staff).