The Council decided how much money will be spent on services, invested in projects, and the level of Council Tax for 2013/14 on February 19th 2013. This information will help you to understand the challenges we are facing and striving to deliver excellent services to local people, making our area the place to live, invest, and visit in the UK.

You can access information about how exactly your money was spent this year in our budget book guide for 2012/13.

What are our challenges?

All town halls across the country are facing difficult decisions in order to provide local services and make their budgets balance. These are:

  • Reductions in Central Government funding. Councils are highly dependent on Government grants and any cut in these is going to have an effect on the money we have available;
  • Demographic change. Over three years, the local increase in the number of over-65s is projected to be 6.7% and the over-85s the figure is 7.7%. This will result in extra demand for local services resulting in huge financial pressures that must be planned for now. There is also a growing number of younger people who need more places for their education. We have compiled a comprehensive analysis of local needs in the area explaining this challenge in more detail.
  • Rising costs. People have experienced the cost of all sorts of goods and services rising steeply with inflation. The Council also faces these additional costs.

The Government is also passing new legislation which has an impact on the services that we provide. For example, there are changes to education and the role of Academies.

How are we responding to these challenges?

We are in a better position than most local authorities because we have consistently balanced our budgets, built-up a strong level of financial reserves, and made substantial back office savings. We will make further savings over the coming years, including by adopting suggestions made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. You can find out more about the £25 million of back office efficiencies we have made in the 'Our Change Programme 2012' booklet.

The article in the Winter edition of Connect Magazine ‘Balancing the Books’ explains more about how we prepared the budget to protect priority services and invest in economic growth. Our three priorities are:

As part of their budget proposal, the Cabinet published 'Our Aims and Ambitions for Local People Explained - 2013/14 to 2015/16' which goes into greater detail about how these priorities will be achieved. This includes a £151 million capital programme to invest in projects for the future that will benefit local people today and future generations. These projects include:

Budget process so far...

An initial plan for the budget was unveiled in November with more detailed plans for adult social care, education, place, resources and regeneration, skills and major projects debated by councillors. Three Budget Fairs and a public consultation were also held. The Cabinet met on Wednesday 13th February 2013 to finalise their budget proposal to Council - people watched the debate via live Webcast and is now available on catch-up.

Agenda papers for the budget meeting gave a full analysis of the budget figures. These were issued with an accompanying news release explaining the key aspects of the proposals.

We have also published a list of some of the highly valued services to the public that the Council has protected in 2013/14.

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