Birmingham City Council’s New Budget Plans Released
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The Council’s new budget aims to balance investment in services against ongoing financial challenges.
Birmingham City Council has published its latest financial plan last night (1 February 2021). This medium-term financial plan follows on from the publication of a new Delivery Plan in November 2020, which outlined the Council’s priorities, actions and key commitments to May 2022. The key areas of focus include:
- Reforming the way the Council operates;
- Shifting the focus from crisis to prevention;
- Increasing the pace and scale of economic growth.
The Council’s Financial Plan 2021–2025 provides firm financial forecasts for income and expenditure driven by the Delivery Plan.
The plan aims to balance a significant programme of investment, transformation and support for the most vulnerable against continued financial challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Above inflation, additional investment in services totals £69.1m in 2021/22, including a further £22.5m for adult social care, £12.3m for children’s services and £6.9m for neighbourhood services. The latest financial plan goes to Cabinet on 9 February 2021 before going to Full Council for final approval on 23 February 2021.
The council has already saved over £700m since 2010. A different approach to the budget has been adopted this year meaning that there are no new savings proposals requiring public consultation – with most savings in the budget having already been consulted on and approved in previous years.
The only material new saving is for ‘establishment controls’, for which there are no redundancies anticipated as the outcomes are likely to be deleted vacancies and reduced agency costs. This is budgeted to save £20.1m per year.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“The plan has been produced against a backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the tragic impact that the last year has had across our city. Families have lost loved ones, businesses have struggled and jobs have been lost. Many people have struggled financially, mentally and in lots of other ways. The pandemic has highlighted long-standing issues and inequalities that must be tackled to ensure that every neighbourhood and every community across Birmingham benefits from the recovery to come.
But Birmingham is, and always has been, a resilient city. The strengths and assets that made this an attractive place to live, work and invest before COVID-19 have not gone away – in fact they are now more important than ever. We will make these ongoing strengths work for the people of Birmingham, building more homes, creating more jobs and ensuring that the benefits are felt in every street, neighbourhood and community.
Exciting times lie ahead once we overcome the pandemic. HS2 is still happening, bringing jobs and opportunities; some of the UK’s biggest companies, such as PwC and HSBC, are proud to call the city home; we have fantastic universities that are producing a strong pipeline of talent; and next year we play host to the 2022 Commonwealth Games – a huge event that will really put Birmingham on the global stage.
But though there are many reasons for optimism, this is also a city of challenges; a city where over a decade of cuts in funding from Government has left its mark on our public services.
Our new Financial Plan will play a significant part in helping improve things for the people of Birmingham.”
To find out more about the proposed budget see the BCC website for a summary of the key themes and reasoning underpinning the decisions.