Consultation is open for people to express their views on Leeds City Council’s annual budget plans, which were published last week.
The proposals are aimed at helping the council again maximise efficiencies while coping with reductions to funding in the face of rising pressures on services. One proposal is to again accept the government’s offer to add an extra 3% to council tax to help with the steeply rising cost of care for older people.
The council is proposing a tightly-managed budget for 2018/19 aimed at maximising efficiencies while coping with reductions to funding in the face of rising pressures on services.
It is planning to again accept the government’s offer of adding 3% to council tax to contribute to the spiralling costs of caring for the growing number of older people. In the 85-89 age group alone, a 1.87% rise in numbers is expected to cost an extra £0.8m in the coming year.
The 3% precept would raise £8.6 million, itself only a small part of the estimated £208m to cover the costs of adult social care and health in the coming year. This is a significant chunk of the council’s overall spending, much of which is prioritised to support vulnerable children and adults.
Providing largely statutory services for children and adults will use up 65.1% of the council’s total net revenue budget of £506.2m in 2018/19.
A total council tax rise of 4.99% in Leeds for the coming year is proposed as the council deals with continued challenges that mean it needs to find a further £38.2 million of additional income and savings by March 2019. This is in addition to coping with total reductions in the council’s core funding of around £239m from 2010 up to the 2017/18 budget.
The final budget plans may be amended as the Leeds City Region Business Rates Pool, of which the council is a member, is waiting to hear if its application to be a pilot for a 100% business rates retention scheme has been successful. The government is expected to announce sometime this month which areas will trial the system.
Meanwhile the council continues to constantly review services and operations to make them as efficient as possible and targeted at those most in need. Putting resources into more preventative approaches has delivered successes such as reducing numbers of people in temporary accommodation.
In Leeds none of the 33 people currently placed by the council in temporary accommodation are housed in bed and breakfast facilities. This means there is no extra cost to the council, compared to the calculated £9m Birmingham has to spend on placing 379 of its 1,740 people in temporary accommodation in bed and breakfasts.
One area where the council has freed up some money to make a positive investment is the proposal to expand its brown bin garden waste collection service. It plans to extend the popular service to cover the remaining 45,000 homes in the city suitable for collection by introducing an extra three collection routes with an investment of around £360k.
What services matter most to you? How would you balance the books? Tell us today at www.leeds.gov.uk/budgetconsultation
Full details on the budget proposals can be found in this earlier press release