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Budget Consultation

Budget Consultation 2019/20–2022/23

Walsall Council, like all councils, is legally required to set a balanced budget and whilst the council has a medium term financial strategy it annual reviews and refreshes the budget following consideration of how to allocate available money.  The setting of the budget involves difficult decisions and takes into account national and local priorities as well as the needs, wants and aspirations of 270,000 residents.

 

Since 2010, it has been well documented that funding to all councils from central government has been greatly reduced. In fact, since 2010, Walsall Council alone has reduced its spending by c£193 million up to and including 2019/20, and needs to save a further c£18m to be able to balance the budget in 2020/21.

 

At Full Council on 28 February 2019, Councillors discussed the authority’s 4-year financial plan up to and including 2021/22 and approved the Budget and Council Tax for 2019/20. This means the Council has been able to meet its legal requirement to set a balanced budget for 2019/20, which included a breakdown of how the budget will be distributed across services within the total amount available, along with indicative plans for 2020/21 and 2021/22. 

 

Cabinet on 23 October 2019 received an update to budget plans for 2020/21 and 2021/22 which are currently being reviewed – Draft Revenue Budget 2019/20 - 2022/23 . Cabinet will recommend the final 2020/21 budget and future year’s plans on 12 February 2020 for approval by Council on 27 February 2020.

 

Council Tax Precept for Adult Social Care and general increase in council tax – have your say

In 2015 the government introduced the Adults Social Care Precept, which allowed those councils with adult social care responsibilities to increase their share of council tax by up to an extra 2%. In 2016 the secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced that for the 3 years from 2017/18 to 2019/20 councils would be allowed to further increase the precept by up to 3% in any given year, but no more than 6% in total over those years.  This is to be extended for a further year for 2020/21 following the governments settlement consultation but will not be confirmed until a draft settlement is announced which is expected in mid December 2019. Government have set a limit of 2% for 2020/21. This precept is ring fenced to spend on supporting Adult Social Care, in recognition that local authorities are experiencing increased demographic pressures in supporting an ever-increasing elderly population.

Our approved budget for 2019/20 included a general increase in council tax of 2.99% plus 1% precept for social care, a total increase of 3.99%.  Draft plans for 2020/21 also include a general increase of 1.99%  (this is the level allowed by statute before the authority would be required to hold a referendum) and we are now consulting on including a 2% precept for adult social care.

 

Due to increased demand and changes in demographics, adult social care continues to face on-going budget pressures, £7.5m of which is included in the approved budget for 2019/20, and £4.9m in the draft plans for 2020/21 subject to approval. The increase in council tax from the adult social care precept will only fund part of this increased cost, with the remainder to be funded from other sources.

 

No formal decision will be made on the general increase in council tax of 1.99%, and 2% social care precept, until the final budget is approved by Council on 27 February 2020.

 

Undoubtedly, these are challenging times and difficult decisions will have to be made. As we work towards finalising the budget for 2020/21 we must now decide whether to introduce the 1.99% for general council tax and 2% council tax precept for adult social care (total 3.99%). Table 1 shows the combined impact of this increase on council tax bands.  Most properties in Walsall (67.59%) are in council tax bands A or B, as shown in the table below.

 

Increase in council tax of 3.99% (General increase of 2.99% and social care precept of 1%) shown by council tax band

Band

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

Number of houses in the borough

50,741

27,157

18,357

10,201

5,550

2,387

809

50

Current charge 2019/20

£1,142.99

£1,333.49

£1,523.99

£1,714.49

£2,095.49

£2,476.49

£2,857.48

£3,428.98

New Charge 2020/21

£1,188.60

£1,386.70

£1,584.80

£1,782.90

£2,179.10

£2,575.30

£2,971.50

£3,565.81

Annual Increase

£45.61

£53.21

£60.81

£68.41

£83.61

£98.81

£114.01

£136.82

Weekly Increase

£0.87

£1.02

£1.17

£1.31

£1.60

£1.90

£2.19

£2.62

Daily Increase

£0.12

£0.15

£0.17

£0.19

£0.23

£0.27

£0.31

£0.37

 

Have your say

Public consultation on on 1.99% increase in council tax and 2% precept for adult social care will be open from 19 December to 9 January 2020. You can have your say in the following ways:

 

Email us your comments on the proposed increases in council tax to: budgetconsultation@walsall.gov.uk or write to Budget Consultation, Walsall Council, Darwall Street, Walsall WS1 1TP.

 

Final budget proposals will be formalised by our Cabinet on 12 February 2020 for recommendation to full Council on 27 February 2020.

 

The Council's vision, purpose, values and priorities - Our Corporate Plan 2018-21

Walsall Council as a local authority has a statutory duty to deliver specific services within the borough boundaries for all people and communities in Walsall. The duty on Walsall Council includes a huge range of services from social services to planning applications and from the collection of waste to the collection of council tax and non-domestic rates. Whilst the council must fulfil its statutory duties, it does so in the service of and by working with individuals and all communities to support the most vulnerable, and provide the environment and opportunities for all people and communities to fulfil their potential.

Increasingly the austerity measures affecting the whole country are impacting on the Council and in these increasingly challenging times it is more important than ever that there is a clear purpose that drives the way the Council works and what the Council delivers.

Ultimately the Council exists to serve the people and communities of Walsall, by representing and working with them to protect and improve the quality of life for all, particularly the most vulnerable. Read more about the council's vision, purpose,values and priorities in the  Corporate Plan 2018-2021.

Corporate Plan 2018-2021

Contact:

Budget Consultation
Walsall Council
Civic Centre
Darwall Street
Walsall
WS1 1TP

Email budgetconsultation@walsall.gov.uk