Responding to the challenge, looking to the future

By on 23/10/2014 in Budget Views, Leader, News

A Green Paper from Birmingham City Council October 2014

Sir Albert Bore wrote:

As you will be aware, Birmingham City Council has been dealing with the challenge of significant funding cuts since 2010. As this green paper shows, we have already made over £460m of cuts over that period and we face around £315m or so of cuts before 2018. As cuts continue year after year, it becomes more and more difficult to identify savings without reducing or closing services that are valuable to Birmingham people. Next year’s budget (for 2015–16) is proving to be the hardest yet.

I hope that people are now also aware of the reasons why we are having to make such enormous cuts. We face increasing pressure on social care spending, for children and older people and a legacy of equal pay costs, but the main reasons for the scale of this challenge are:

  • The Government’s decision to cut local government far more than other service areas in its attempt to reduce the national budget deficit. Only welfare benefits have been cut anywhere near as much
  • They have then distributed the cuts unfairly, so that the more deprived parts of the country are receiving the biggest reductions in grant. Faced with this challenge the city council has no choice but to radically change the things it does and how it does them. But, looking to the future, we want to make changes in ways that can improve services and quality of life in the future. Simply ‘salami-slicing’ our existing services year after year will not achieve that. To rise to the challenge we face we must all, councillors and council staff, take on board the need for big changes and commit to implementing them.

This Green Paper sets out in more detail our vision for the future of the city council and how we will work with other public services and the businesses and communities of the city. I look forward to receiving your comments on the approach we have set out.

Our detailed budget proposals for next year will be published for formal consultation in December. As explained in this paper, we have approached the process of setting the budget by prioritising services in terms of how they contribute to our core goals: Fairness, Prosperity and Democracy.

But we are already absolutely clear about our top priorities: protecting children and helping to create more jobs for Birmingham people.

For more information and to download the Green Paper go to: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/brumbudget15

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