Birmingham City Council has today (08/12) launched its public consultation on the 2017/18 budget proposals, including a Council Tax rise of 3.99% (2.00% Social Care Precept and 1.99% general Council Tax increases).
The council has already saved approximately £590 million since 2010 and is now consulting on new savings of £50.6 million for 2017/18. This is in addition to previously planned savings of £27.8 million for next year.
For the next six weeks (until 18 January 2017), the council will be asking people to fill in the consultation via its website. It will also be inviting questions and engagement through social media, after feedback showed that online consultation had been particularly well received last year. Cabinet members, including the Leader, will also be taking over the council’s Twitter account to answer questions on the proposals and what they will mean for Birmingham residents.
Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham City Council is facing an extremely tough financial landscape against a backdrop of continuing severe cuts in Government grant. We have already taken around £590 million out of our budget plans since 2010/11 – this includes having had to address an unprecedented 34 per cent reduction in our Government grant – and we expect to have to find around a further £180 million by 2021.
“In such circumstances, the task of putting together the 2017/18 budget posed unprecedented difficulties as dwindling Government funding and unremitting pressure to meet growing demand for adult social care combined to pose the greatest financial challenge ever faced by the council.
“It is inevitable in an age of austerity that unpalatable decisions have to be taken about the services we can continue to pay for, and those areas where the council, reluctantly, must withdraw support.
“Every conceivable saving has been on the table. Some were rejected as being unacceptable, even given the dire circumstances the council finds itself in through no fault of its own.
“We are continuing to invest in our priority areas of children’s services, housing, jobs and skills wherever possible.
“Your feedback is hugely important to us – in fact, we used your feedback from last year’s budget consultation to shape our priorities of children, jobs and skills, housing and health. I want to encourage debate and I want as many people as possible to talk to us as possible which is why this year we’re doing so much more on social media.”
Responses to the proposals can also be made by visiting birminghambeheard.org.uk.
People can also have their say at two public consultation events:
- Tuesday 13th December 2016 – St Barnabas Church, High Street, Erdington, 6.30pm-7.30pm.
- Friday 13th January 2017 – Stirchley Baths, Bournville Lane, Stirchley, 2pm-3pm.
Both events are free to attend, but places must be booked first. This can be done by visiting BrumBudgetDec.eventbrite.co.uk for the December meeting and BrumBudgetJan.eventbrite.co.uk for the January meeting.
Details of the budget proposals can be found at birmingham.gov.uk/brumbudget17 .