After weeks of bitter political wrangling, a compromise budget involving a 2 per cent council tax rise has been passed.
Labour and most of the Greens teamed up to pass a joint budget which preserves children’s centre funding, support for Pride, public toilets and more.
They were able to outvote the Tory and rebel Green councillors and the motion – which can be read in full here – was passed this afternoon.
Brighton and Hove City Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “I’m very pleased that councillors have come to agreement and set a budget today.
“There are still challenging things in that budget that we need to do but also important services that have been protected and I look forward to moving forward. There are difficult times still ahead though.”
The budget was voted through with a joint amendment.
It relies on £1.12 million that was set aside for a referendum being used to fund
Children’s centre services
- Maintaining the number of universal stay and play groups
- Maintaining funding for voluntary sector partners and drop-in groups in libraries
- Retaining the current provision of 12 children’s centres by deferring the saving for one year at a one-off cost of £420,000
- Providing one-off funding of £41,000 in 2015-16 to the commissioning agenda to provide further provide support and refuge to those affected by domestic abuse
- Provide £165,000 of funding for the discretionary grants programme on a one-off basis in 2015-16
- Provide £20,000 to the Pride event for the community element of the annual Pride Parade as the second part of a three-year gradually reducing grant
Services for adults and children with disabilities
- Provide one-off funding of £202,000 to support residential and respite placements, short breaks, direct payments and family support services
- Defer the play service saving in 2015-16 of £31,000 by one year
- Reduce the saving for toilets in 2015-16 only from £160,ooo to £40,000 at a one-off cost of £120,000
In respect of the £100,000 Able and Willing proposal, this amendment replaces the narrative of review business plan” to “redirect council spending on external printing, clothing and other products” to the Able and Willing trading operation.
Protect programmes for the maintenance and planting of replacement trees in 2015-16 by deferring this budget saving proposal for a full year at a cost of £80,000.
Transfer £23,000 to targeted youth work for groups with protected characteristics to enable the continued provision of services after April, when the current council grant funding stops, for a further six months while a review of the provision of services can be undertaken.
Additional savings of £181,000 will be used to protect the mayoralty and support services for organising functions and administration at a cost of £81,000 recurring.
Those savings will also be used to maintain effective support to all political groups by providing for the continuation of three political assistant posts at a cost of £100,000.
The council described the budget headlines as
- The delivery of the Phase 4 Value for Money Programme which covers adult social care placement costs, improving management of demand across all social care services, driving through procurement savings and exploring a wide range of income opportunities to become more self-sustaining
- The recommissioning of some services, including a joined-up approach across adult social care, housing, children’s and public health as well as integration with health services under the Better Care initiative
- Decommissioning or reducing some services where they are not considered to be the most effective way of achieving outcomes
- Service redesign to ensure that services are responsive to customer needs for example Cityclean and City Parks, the fostering and adoption service and the stop smoking service
The council added that there would also be considerable investment in services, particularly early help and prevention, to support the most vulnerable, and measures to support sustainable economic growth in the city including
- Expansion of the Stronger Families, Stronger Communities programme
- A focus through the Better Care Fund on the frail, elderly and vulnerable homeless people
- Use of ring-fenced public health funding to build the intelligence capacity of the council and to support a number of existing council services such as the family nurse partnership and adult social care preventative services
Read an account in tweets here – B&H 2015 budget II.
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