It’s that time of year when we set out the Council’s pre-budget proposals so that we can begin to plan to set out the budget for 2018/19.
When the City Council set the budget for the current year in February, it projected a balanced position across a three year period subject to certain assumptions about savings and spending pressures. We are legally obliged to agree a balanced budget (in other words not spending more money than we gain through income) and that’s what our initial plans set out to do.
New financial challenges, largely through demand pressures in Children’s Services and in Housing and Homelessness Services, as well as continuing challenges in driving through our existing savings plans mean that we now have to identify further measures to achieve a balanced budget for 2018/19 and beyond.
In order to offset some of these pressures, we have been able to identify additional resources through improved performance in generating and collecting Council Tax and Business Rates income as well as some other changes that do not impact on staff or services to Coventry citizens to help balance the budget.
No new plans for cuts to council services
This means that, at this stage, there are no new proposals to make any cuts to Council Services. This reinforces the Council’s commitment to seeking to protect its most vulnerable citizens and providing core services to everyone in the city including bin collections and street cleaning.
For a number of years the Council has been changing the way services are delivered and trying to become more self-sufficient by looking at more commercial ways of doing things. This will be an important way in which the City Council will be able to help raise money to protect services in the future and we will also need to continue to drive through savings programmes to reduce costs.
The Pre-Budget report proposes an overall Council Tax increase for 2018/19 of approximately 4.9% which includes 3% to reflect additional funding for Adult Social Care as allowed for within Government guidelines.
The final budget proposal and the Council Tax increase will be subject to Council approval in February.
Other background information
The Council has received £107m less core Government grant in 2017/18 than the equivalent figure it received in 2010/11. The four year settlement announced by Government in February 2016 confirmed additional reductions including a further £6m in 2018/19. By 2019/20 the total loss will amount to £119m per annum.