UK

Budget outlines programme of investment, support and transformation

A significant programme of investment, transformation and support for the most vulnerable against continued financial challenges is detailed in Birmingham City Council’s latest financial plan.

Set against a context of ongoing government funding cuts and growing demand for services, the council has already saved around £728million since 2010 and must now deliver further savings of £56 million over the next four years, including £22 million for 2020/21.

The plan, due before Cabinet tomorrow (February 11), follows an extensive public consultation late last year which specifically covered £18million of proposed new savings by 2023/24 as well as asking for the views and opinions on priority services.

Following the consultation, a number of changes have been made to the budget proposals, including:

  • Improvements to the cleanliness of streets through additional resources for leaf clearance;
  • No longer proceeding with the saving to charge Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) the costs of collecting their income;
  • Introduction of a dedicated member of staff to manage the Council’s relationship with the BIDs;
  • Community Safety – the council will undertake a review of resourcing with partners in early 2020-21 and highlight any gaps in resourcing against its community safety strategic assessment. Any new initiatives will be brought forward on an ‘invest to save’ basis by pump-priming partnership and community capacity.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Over the period of austerity, demand for many services has grown and inevitably that has meant tougher budget decisions than ever before.

“In November 2019, we launched our latest budget consultation, setting out how we aim to meet the current and future financial challenges by redesigning services to better meet the needs of Birmingham citizens. We have listened and allocated resources to the top priorities identified from this consultation.

“Preparations for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are gathering pace and, in addition to the major redevelopment of Perry Barr, we will ensure that the immense financial, cultural and social benefits of hosting such a major global event are felt by as many people, in as many neighbourhoods, as possible.

“This is our chance to shine and I have no doubt that we will show the world what the people of Birmingham can do.”

The financial plan and related documents can be read here.

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