Annual Council Budget 2020/21
Council budget and savings programme consultation 2020/21 – have your say
South Gloucestershire Council is responsible for a range of services which your local area receives such as refuse collection and disposal, street cleaning, planning, education, social care services and road maintenance.
South Gloucestershire Council is currently consulting on its budget, council tax levels for next year, and its overall savings plan. Each year, we ask council tax payers for their views before agreeing our budget and council tax. This is your opportunity to comment on the council’s priorities, its council tax and its proposals to improve services and increase efficiency.
As a local resident, it is important that you have a say in how we shape services in the future and our budget consultation is a key part of this. Please send us your views by Sunday 5th January 2020.
Background: Central Government Funding
The government’s recent Spending Round has resulted in a number of significant changes to the council’s financial plans for its 2020/21 budget and medium term financial planning. The announcement of additional funding for social care came at a point when both price and demand pressures are rising with both the rolling forward of social care grants issued in 2019/20 and a further £1bn nationally, equating to £3.3m locally. Whilst this funding is for 2020/21 only, it was recognised that on-going core funding is required and grant funding was coupled with a new adult social care council tax precept of 2% (raising £2.9m locally), which residents and organisations are being asked their views upon.
The Spending Round also confirmed that the West of England would retain its business rates pilot in 2020/21 when it had been expected that all pilots ceased in March 2020 pending the introduction of changes to the wider Local Government Finance System. With these changes delayed, the West of England has been fortunate in retaining its pilot benefit resulting in an expected £4.4m of additional one-off resource.
Overall the estimated additional funding announced in the Spending Round equates to around £14.3m extra funding in 2020/21 – split between £11.4m on a one-off basis and £2.9m recurrent should the council proceed with the new adult social care council tax precept.
There are 3 areas we are consulting the public about:
- The Council Budget and Savings Programme
This is wholly welcomed news for the council and taking forward these estimations and revisiting the timed use of our reserves the council is in a position where it can, at this point, balance its budget for the next 2 years. However, whilst this is a positive position to be in which supports and protects the services valued by residents and businesses, this does assume council tax will be increased in line with government limits and that existing savings programmes will be delivered in full and to time. Taking into account these assumptions, the council retains a core deficit of £11.9m at 2023/24 which will need to be revisited once the local impact of the government’s changes to the Local Government Finance System is known for 2021/22 onwards.
Including spending on schools, the Council is budgeting to spend £641m in 2020/21 of which central government is contributing £76.9m towards general services and a further £227.5m specifically towards meeting Schools’ expenditure. Up to 2019/20 the council will have delivered nearly £87m of savings to reduce cost pressures and keep the council’s spending within its funding envelope. However, the council’s medium term financial planning indicates that more savings are required over the forthcoming 4 years to keep pace with increasing cost pressures, and it’s where we make these savings that we are seeking public input. This is not an uncommon situation for a council to be faced with and is one that this council has been adept at managing in recent years. Through financial planning over the medium term and effective management of its one-off reserves, the council has been able to develop a Transformation & Savings Programme that allows time for sustainable implementation and meaningful consultation, be that either internally with staff or externally with members of the public depending on the saving being proposed.
The council’s Cabinet approved a report in July 2018, available to view here: www.southglos.gov.uk/cabinet0718 which gave high level details of the transformation programmes to be taken forward by each department covering the proposals, consultation and decision making routes to be developed further. This was subsequently updated in February 2019 and is available to view here: www.southglos.gov.uk/cabinet0219 . The key focus being to ensure the council’s medium term financial plan is sustainable through the development of various initiatives to deliver improved value for money and reduce the rate of forecast increase in demand, while as far as possible improving or maintaining services.
Please view this table, which shows the services across which the council spends its funding – both as gross expenditure (£632m in total) and as net budget i.e. taking into account income (£224.9m). It also shows the current % of savings proposed to be delivered by each department, along with the % reduction delivered to date. These proposals have been developed in partnership with specialist consultants to ensure the proposals are as robust as possible. They are regularly reviewed and take account of what is being done in other local authorities across the country.
Table to show sources of Council income for 2020/21
- Council Tax & Adult Social Care Precept
Prior to 2016, the Council had frozen council tax levels for five consecutive years. However, for 2016/17 the Government ended its council tax freeze grant scheme and allowed local authorities with Adult Social Care responsibilities to raise an additional 2% council tax ’precept’ to support care for older people. This flexibility was subsequently increased to allow local authorities to increase the Adult Social Care Precept by up to 3% per annum, capped at 6% across April 2017 – March 2020.
In February 2018 the Council approved its 2018/19 revenue budget, confirming a council tax increase of 2.99% along with the 3% precept for adult social care. It also approved outline budgets for the following three years (up to March 2022) to help it plan for the future. These included planning assumptions for council tax to rise by 2.99% in 2019/20 and 1.99% thereafter, in line with indicative government referendum limits. No further increase was available at this stage to the Adult Social Precept. The government’s Spending Round in September 2019 proposed a new increase to the adult social care precept of 2% in 2020/21, whilst retaining the core council tax limit at 2% in line with the council’s financial plans.
Whilst the council has based its plans on an assumed council tax rise of 1.99% for 2020/21, this is subject to approval by Full Council in February, and the feedback we get from local residents through this consultation helps local Councillors make a final decision.
A rise of 1.99% in 2020/21 would contribute £2.8m towards local council services coupled with a 2% adult social care precept contributing a further £2.9m. This would mean an increase of approximately £59.22 per year (or equivalent to £4.94 per month) for a band D household.
- Changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
South Gloucestershire Council became responsible for its local Council Tax Reduction scheme “council tax benefit” from 2013. The local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTR) uses a person’s income to decide how much discount to apply to their council tax liability. The council is now consulting on two possible changes in light of the wider roll out of Universal Credit across the region. Information about the current scheme can be found here: http://www.southglos.gov.uk/council-tax/counciltax-discounts/local-council-tax-reduction/
Find out more and have your say
- Download this information as a consultation document
- Read the Initial Equalities Impact Assessment
- Individual Residents can complete our online survey
- Organisations can complete a separate survey here
- Download a PDF of the survey to print, fill out and post to us. You can also pick up paper copies of the survey and consultation documents at any local library and One Stop Shop
- Email: Consultation@southglos.gov.uk
- Telephone: 01454 868154
- Write to:
Freepost Plus RTXL-YHGY-GSYS
South Gloucestershire Council
Corporate Consultation Team
Due to pressures on the postal system around Christmas please ensure any hard copy responses reach us by 13th December 2019
14 Oct 2019 at 15:00
5 Jan 2020 at 23:59
Consultation Document - Budget 2020/21
All the information you need to complete the Budget survey
Council Budget 2020/21
Table of Council budget allocation and savings by department for financial year 2020/21
Initial Equality Impact Assessment and Analysis
See how the budget is likely to affect protected characteristic groups of residents
PDF of survey for residents
If you would like a paper copy of the questionnaire, you can download this version
|Marking a consultation as relevant to a particular audience indicates that it may be of special relevance to people within that group. It doesn't, however, mean that other groups wont find the consultation of interest - we welcome responses from everybody.
For example, education issues may be of particular interest to Parents & Guardians, and so will be shown to people searching the system for parenting issues, but the views of others (eg: Business, Faith Groups) are also relevant.