Residents, partners and businesses help deliver balanced budget
Southampton City Council undertook a public consultation on budget proposals between October 2018 and January 2019. This sought the views of residents, partners and businesses on a range of proposals designed to deliver a balanced budget. At the same time, specific consultations were undertaken on proposals to introduce a new Adult Social Care Charging Policy and to change some service charges for council housing tenants.
The results of those consultations will be presented to Cabinet on 19 February 2019 and Full Council on 20 February 2019, along with our revised Medium Term Financial Strategy and supporting information, for final decision.
Over 900 responses were received to these three consultations, and these have been carefully considered as we look to set our budget for 2019/20. We were pleased to see that more people agreed than disagreed with most of the individual proposals put forward in the overall budget consultation. At the same time, we recognise the concerns and suggestions put forward and have sought to take these into account as we finalise our proposals.
These proposals are needed to help us balance our budget, which is a legal requirement. As a result of reductions in funding from central government, Southampton City Council has made £136.4 million of cuts over the last seven years and we need to make another £11.8 million cuts 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 continues to reduce significantly. At the same time as we are having to make further savings, the costs of providing our services – particularly those for vulnerable children and adults – continues to increase year-on-year.
Councillor Christopher Hammond, the Leader of Southampton City Council, comments: “After seven years of Government austerity, it gets harder and harder to balance the books. We’re only left with really difficult decisions about how we spend our money and the services we provide. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to comment on the consultation, and give their views about our budget proposals.”
*Excluding Housing Revenue Account expenditure and schools expenditure.