The budget proposals for 2017-2020 have now been approved by our Cabinet and Full Council this month. The budget puts us in a strong position to achieve a balanced budget for 2017/2018 and gives us a detailed three year plan to 2020.
We have been working hard to find ways to reduce the estimated gap of £28 million over the coming three years, particularly as this is on top of the £87m we’ve already saved since 2010. We’ve had to make some tough decisions and change the way we deliver some of our services.
Some key points from the budget proposals are:
- Council tax – We consider carefully any proposed increase we make on our council tax levels. Along with most other authorities, we increased council tax to raise much needed income to support our most vulnerable residents but we didn’t take this decision lightly.
Following the Government’s policy of allowing local authorities to impose a special council tax precept to raise funds to combat social care pressures, our proposals for council tax levels are as follows:
- 2017/2018 : 4.9% increase (3% social care levy / 1.9% general increase). This is excluding charges made for the police and fire service.
You can see more about how council tax is calculated, spent and invested in our Guide to Council Tax 2017-18.
- Invest to grow – We’re supporting and accelerating growth in Barnsley to provide opportunities for us to generate funds that we can reinvest in services such as social care. To develop a thriving and vibrant economy, we will invest some £18m into additional housing and £14m on maintaining and improving our roads up to 2020. Plans to invest £5m in community-led projects to encourage the regeneration of our principal towns and local centres will support our communities to be stronger and more resilient. Our town centre regeneration will continue its transformation bringing investment into the borough alongside retail and leisure facilities that everyone can enjoy.
- Early help – More and more people need support from social care services and this demand is only going to grow. By 2020 our under 16s population is expected to grow by 6.1% and our 65+ population is expected to grow by 11.3%. Our proposals seek to reduce demand for our services through improving access to early help and support, preventing problems from growing.
- Digital by default – We’ll keep investing in our digital offer – supporting residents to access our services quickly online. We’ll reduce our telephone numbers to four, prioritising access for people who cannot use online services.
Our budget shows how we’re prioritising spending in line with our three priorities: a thriving and vibrant economy, people achieving their potential, and strong and resilient communities.
We’ll keep asking your views on any changes we’re making. Keep up with these on our consultation site. Your feedback is crucial in helping us to deliver services that meet your needs.
You can view the full budget details in the Cabinet meeting papers.