Budget 2013-15: Tough decisions to secure the future

4 Feb 2013 @ 4.04 pm
| News

Issued by City of York Council

City of York Council’s Cabinet will consider proposals for the authority’s 2013-2015 budget, in a meeting on Tuesday 12 February 2013.

Members will again consider a prudent two-year budget, to create certainty and stability when faced with the most difficult financial challenge of a generation.

The council has confirmed it will need to make savings of £9 million in 2013/14 and £11 million in 2014/15 and expects to achieve this by consolidating services and re-prioritising its budget, whilst working to minimise impact on residents and the city.

The 2013-15 budget is focused on investing in jobs and growth in York’s economy; protecting vulnerable people and tackling poverty; and developing modern and efficient delivery processes as an organisation.

The proposals outline savings of £20 million over the next two financial years which will be achieved through; service reviews, efficiency and better procurement; maximising its available and new income streams; and in consolidating services further.

The authority is maintaining its commitment to the financial inclusion of all York residents through the implementation of its financial inclusion strategy, including the provision of a Financial Assistance Scheme to ensure that all residents have access to quality financial and debt advice. The council also proposes to invest £5 million over the next two financial years in adult social care, to ensure the city’s most vulnerable residents are taken care of.

To support the funding of these commitments, the council will increase Council Tax by 1.9 per cent in 2013/14 – an average increase of 38p per week for residents.

Additional unavoidable pressures driving the savings requirements for the council include:

  • Continued increases in the number of customers requiring the council’s support as a result of the city’s ageing population
  • Dealing with increasing Landfill Tax requirements, Fuel and Energy costs.
  • The impacts of high inflation on external contracts.
  • A reduction in income generation as a result of the recession.

Kersten England, Chief Executive of City of York Council said: “By 2015 we will have delivered savings of £62million, over a period of four years – 30 per cent of our budget. We have reduced our management costs by 40 per cent and our back office function has gone from £17 million a year to £13 million. We did this to protect front line services for as long as possible for residents and are continuing to look at different service delivery models to support this aim.”

Cllr James Alexander, Leader of City of York Council said: “We want to see all residents benefitting from good jobs, incomes, housing and leisure opportunities and have been working hard with businesses to increase the supply of jobs in the city. We are improving the city’s infrastructure to kick start development, ensuring York is investment ready, and targeting key growth markets to expand the city’s reach and economy.

“We are committed to protecting our most vulnerable residents, which means ensuring that funding is prioritised for adult social care and children’s services. Given the rising demand and costs for these services in York, we are increasing Council Tax by 1.9 per cent – that’s an average of 38 pence per person, per week. In 2013/14 this will pay for approximately half the adult care cost increases we will see. If we were to take the council tax freeze grant, we would need to find another £1.3million savings by 2015.”

Cllr Gunnell, Cabinet member for Corporate Services said: “We are working to achieve a fair and financially inclusive city, particularly in light of the welfare reforms taking place at a national level. We are applying the Fairness Commission approach of directing resources to where they are most needed; ensuring that our residents have access to financial and debt advice, and the grant or benefit support that they are entitled to.”

Cabinet members will agree which options they wish to take forward to Full Council on 28 February, which will see final consideration to the savings, investments, fees and charges that the council will make and set the level of Council Tax.

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