Birmingham council reduces planned 2017-18 cuts, but finance challenges ‘remain difficult’
Birmingham City Council officially announced its budget for 2017-18 last night at its full council meeting, saying that £550m will be committed to public services for adults and children in the region.
The news comes days after Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel warned that the council would be “at risk” should overspending continue into the next financial year.
The increase in funding for adult social services will see a £53m rise to £338m in total, with £317m of that committed to adult social care and the remaining £21m put into the Supporting People budget.
Children’s services will also be given a needed boost. The sector’s budget was set at £31m and child protection services were given £162m.
After a major consultation period with residents, proposed cuts were reduced by £7.5m by using the £2.9m from 1% extra social care precept and an additional £4.6m in “new sources of revenue” to reduce brutal cuts to services.
Speaking about the budget, Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, admitted: “The financial challenges facing Birmingham City Council remain as difficult as ever. We have made savings of almost £600m since 2010 and expect to make a further £170m savings by 2021.
“However, even faced with the most challenging financial circumstances, we are still investing in our frontline services with more money going into priority areas – such as adult social care and protecting vulnerable children.
“Before setting this year’s budget, we engaged with more citizens than ever before – we listened and acted, and as a result have significantly reduced cuts we were planning to make to the Supporting People budget so we can better protect vulnerable and older people in our city.”
Cllr Clancy also referenced the impact the public consultation had in putting funds into public parks and museums, as the council reduced cuts to parks by £1.3m and is no longer making the proposed £750,000 cuts to museums.
The council leader also emphasised that there was still a great need for cooperation between council and community, noting that “it is more important than ever that we work more closely with our partners, community groups and residents to find new ways of delivering services”.
He concluded: “We are a young city and this gives us tremendous opportunities but we must galvanise that youthful zeal to forge a city of active communities, of innovation, creativity and social enterprise.”
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