Bournemouth Council’s Cabinet have agreed recommendations for the 2018/19 budget, which will be presented to Full Council on 21 February 2018.
In assessing its spending commitments for the year ahead, the Council is anticipating a reduction in devolved funding of £4m for 2018/19 and a further reduction of £3.5m for 2019/20. In addition to these existing pressures, the Council recognised very early the need to respond to a £7.5m gap in the budget to balance the books for 2018/19.
Following previously identified savings of over £9.1m for 2018/19, Cabinet has agreed to follow the Government’s strategy and recommend an increase in Council tax of 5.99%, made up of 2.99% in standard council tax and the addition of 3% Adult Social Care precept, to help plug this gap.
The proposed budget once again makes substantial provision for homelessness and the most vulnerable with an additional £4.5 million allocated to Adults’ and Children’s Services for 2018/19. This means that next year 79% of the Council’s entire budget will be used to meet the cost of statutory, demand led social care services.
Councillor John Beesley, Leader of the Council, set the scene by stating that “The effective management of the Council’s finances has never been as crucial as it is today, recognising an unprecedented funding position and simultaneous increases in the demand for services. Here in Bournemouth we are focussed on the continuing delivery of frontline services for residents despite receiving a reduction of £54m in our core funding since 2010/11. In the meantime, the ongoing challenges for the funding of Adults’ and Children’s social care leaves Council finances for all services on a knife-edge.”
He went on to say “We continue to face significant challenges, although to date the Council has a proven track record of managing the delivery of services and balancing its financial position year on year. The Budget we are recommending to the Council is financially sound, continues to deliver front line services and supports those residents most in need in our local community.”