Following the original news release issued on Monday – please note this is a corrected version. We apologise for any inconvenience.
On 24 October, Southampton City Council will launch its public consultation on budget proposals for 2019/20-2020/21.
Running for 12 weeks, the consultation is seeking the views of residents, partners and businesses on proposals which are designed to deliver a balanced budget. A final decision on the budget proposals will be taken by Full Council in February 2019.
As a result of reductions in funding from central government, Southampton City Council has made £136.4 million savings over the last seven years and we need to make another £15.05 million savings by 2020/21. Income from the Council Tax only covers 17% of our total council expenditure* and the revenue support grant funding we receive from central government will be reduced by 54% over the medium term. At the same time as we are having to make further savings, demand for our services – particularly those for vulnerable children and adults – continues to increase year-on-year.
Since 2017/18, the council adopted an outcome-based planning and budgeting approach to ensure that it is investing its reduced resources in activities that have the greatest impact on the delivery of our priority outcomes, which are:
- Strong and sustainable economic growth
- Children and young people get a good start in life
- People in Southampton live safe, healthy, independent lives
- Southampton is an attractive and modern city, where people are proud to live and work
And, to ensure the council can deliver against these in an affordable way, we aim to be a 'modern sustainable council'.
By allocating resources to these priorities, considering what is being achieved from the services being provided, and what can be improved, changed or stopped, we have identified areas where we can potentially make savings. We have also included income generation proposals and ‘business as usual’ efficiencies.
It is important that we get feedback from residents, service users, partners and businesses in the city before we finalise our plans. A consultation on the proposals will start on 24 October and residents will be encouraged to share their views on the proposals. To assist in understanding the proposals, a range of information sheets will be available on our website when the consultation commences on 24 October.
Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: "In the last seven years, we have made £136.4 million savings. Making further decisions about reducing costs is really difficult. Many councils are at breaking point as central government funding has reduced, despite demand for some of the council's most critical services continuing to rise.
"So, we are having to make difficult decisions about reducing costs further. We've tried to ensure that the city’s vulnerable people and its most needed services are protected by taking an outcome-based planning and budgeting approach.
"The council’s priorities were developed based upon feedback from residents and businesses, so it is essential that they continue to have a say on how we allocate resources by taking part in the consultation."
A final set of proposals will be presented to Full Council on 20 February 2019 for a final decision.
*Excluding Housing Revenue Account expenditure and schools expenditure
Papers are available for the 16 October Cabinet meeting, which detail the proposals.