The proposals for the 2020-2021 budget provide a fantastic opportunity to take a look at the future investments and services that play an essential role in making Barnsley a better place to live, work, invest and visit.
Key points from the proposed budget:
A balanced budget for 2020-2021.
- For the first time in ten years, the council propose an investment budget in key areas.
- Refreshed Council Tax Support scheme will help 12,000 households across the borough
- An excellence in adult social care programme, which will improve the quality of provision and the terms and conditions and career opportunities for staff in the sector. Initial proposals to include an increase in pay for front line, direct support staff to help stabilise and strengthen the sector.
- No compulsory redundancies.
- The council's component of the council tax will increase by 3.9 per cent (1.9 per cent increase to help fund general services - such as bin collections, roads and our Area Councils and a government precept 2 per cent increase ring-fenced for adult social care).
Barnsley Council's 2020/2021 budget proposals will be considered at cabinet on Wednesday 5 February 2020, before being discussed at Full Council on Thursday 27 February 2020.
Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, leader of the council, said: "I'm pleased to be able to propose a balanced budget for 2020-2021. For the last ten years, I've had to propose budgets which have focused on constant reductions due to austerity. This year it's a different kind of budget; concentrating on putting money back into the borough and our communities.
"Our forward planning and good financial housekeeping have meant we can explore a number of one-off and ongoing investments for the upcoming financial year.
"Our current financial position might make it sound like it's been an easy process for us; it hasn't. Government funding reductions over the last ten years have forced us to make tough and unpopular decisions, as well as changing the way we deliver our services.
"We're not sure what the Government's future financial settlements will be, we still need to be in a position to make sure we can fund services going forward. This is why we're still proposing £7.4 million of efficiencies across the council, looking at changing the way we deliver our services to meet our residents’ needs.
"As a council, we're still faced with considerable financial uncertainty. We will remain vigilant, prepare for every financial scenario and manage our resources with a long term future in mind."
Key parts of the proposals are listed below. A full list of investment proposals is available on the council's website:
- An 'Excellence in Care' programme to look at training, development and pay for front line, direct support staff across the commissioned adult social care market. Initially, we're proposing an increase in pay for front line, direct support staff to help stabilise and strengthen the sector. Proposals are that these staff will receive a local market supplement of £1, on top of the National Living Wage rate (2020/21 - NLW £8.72 + £1 supplement = £9.72 per hour).
- Increase capacity and support in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services.
- Supporting mental health initiatives such as mental health and physical activity guides, bereavement support for children and families, and delivering sessions for Y7 school pupils and staff around raising awareness of self-harm.
- A refreshed council tax support scheme to provide financial help for around 12,000 low-income households.
- Extra funding to further progress the Principal Towns project, making sure that the benefits from regeneration spread across the borough.
- Investment in stronger transport links across the borough, such as improvements to the Dearne town link-road and the A628 Dodworth Road/Broadway junction improvements.
- Investment to help drive Barnsley's zero-carbon plans, through initiatives such as tree planting programmes.
- Expanding the range of materials that can be recycled (like yoghurt pots) to make it easier for residents and businesses to do their bit to keep Barnsley clean and green.
- Making our town-centre car parks easier to use with digital displays, pay on exit capability, contactless payment, electric charging stations and CCTV.
- Increasing Ward Alliance budgets by £10,000 per ward so communities can continue to fund initiatives to help their areas thrive.
- Extra focus on removing graffiti, weeds, fly-tipping, street cleaning, maintaining the roads, gullies and drainage.
Sarah Norman, Chief Executive of Barnsley Council, said: "It's been great to work closely with Elected Members and our staff to propose a stable budget for next year, with a positive plan to invest back into the borough.
"Although our financial future is still unclear, our plans to focus on the next ten years will help us to make sure services are meeting people's needs and aspirations.
"We're calling this Barnsley 2030. We're working with residents and communities, our staff, our partners and businesses to encourage everyone to share their views. We want to build a picture of what people think is unique about the borough; the challenges people feel they're facing and their future ambitions. This will provide an understanding of what the borough's priorities should be for the next ten years, with the drive to make the Barnsley borough a place where people can realise their potential and be inspired to create a better life."
Read the report for the proposed 2020-2021 budget on our Read the report for the proposed 2020-2021 budget here.