Final consultation meeting on Council budget cuts – Friday 13 January, 2-3pm, Stirchley Baths

This is the second of only two public sessions, each only one hour long. Places are limited and you need to book at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/brumbudget17

You can also post your comments on the council website at birminghambeheard.org.uk

There is a useful summary of the cuts in the council’s budget by Neil Elkes on the Birmingham Mail website, 9 December (see extracts below). But in a follow-up article on 9 January Elkes warns that

Expert have questioned whether Birmingham City Council can deliver the £76 million cuts proposed in the 2017/18 in a report ordered by government overseers.

The city council was ordered to have next year’s budget reviewed by the Local Government Association (LGA) after it built up a £49 million black hole in its finances when savings on health service and adult social care reform failed to be delivered.

But in its first report, the LGA panel, which includes Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes, has concluded that, while Birmingham’s proposed cuts are “ambitious and challenging”, contingency plans for alternative cuts need to be put in place should they fail to come through.

The cuts Birmingham City Council is making this year

More money raised from car parks, funerals, advertising and commercial waste while cuts to parks, museums, the foreign desk and a war on red tape will save millions

Extracts from NEIL ELKES 9 DEC 2016

Birmingham City Council chiefs have outlined £76 million cuts for next year, as well as a four per cent hike in council tax.

The £10 million cut to the supporting people fund, and its likely impact on the city’s homeless , has taken the headlines. But there are many more….

  1. Increased car park charges – saving £600,000

Evening charges to be considered for local car parks and parking bays. While city centre parking charges will be raised, in part to deter people from using cars and eases congestion and pollution.

  1. Reduce grass cutting, flower bed planting and staffing in parks by 20 per cent – saving £1.8
  2. Cutting the number of city councillors by 19 from 2018 – saving £300,000
  3. Cutting costs of IT with Service Birmingham – saving £10.2 million

The council has also saved £950,000 a year by taking its revenue collection service back from Service Birmingham.

  1. Sell more adverts – earning extra £1 million a year by 2018
  2. Reduce Birmingham’s foreign office – saving £410,000
  3. Subsidy to Museum and Arts cut – saving £500,000

New deal with Birmingham Museums Trust will see a reduction in the council’s contribution. Could mean some charges or reduced hours and access unless alternate funds are found.

  1. Transport for West Midlands cut – saving £1 million (£2 million from 2018/19)
  2. Charges for non-household waste taken to tips – earning £300,000
  3. New charges at cemeteries and markets – raising £400,000 by 2019
  4. Closer working between Library of Birmingham and Birmingham Rep – saving £100,000

Cuts and closures to community libraries already announced earlier this year. Two Birmingham libraries close and others have hours cut in major cull

  1. Community and independent living – saving £8.5 million a year by 2018

Including enablement service to enable frail people to live independently at home for longer, reducing the need for expensive hospital or residential care and closer working with GP and community health services.

  1. Delay in living wage for care staff – saving £2 million (one year only)

Aim is to pay care workers a minimum £9 per hour by April 2018 instead of next year.

  1. Close homes for disabled children and home to school travel for over-16s – saving £776,000

Use foster care and community solutions to replace children’s homes. Attempts to make cuts to home to school transport this year failed spectacularly. So cuts are now focused on older teens.

  1. Halve Local Innovation Fund – saving £2 million

This is the £48,000 given to each ward to allow local councillors to back community projects and groups

  1. Future council plan to tackle red tape and inefficiency – £35 million a year by 2018

This is a whopper and there is talk of streamlined services, management overhauls and greater use of shared working with outside agencies.

 

 

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