Residents in Bournemouth will see their Council tax rise by 5.99% in 2018/19, as the Council adopts a 2.99% general council tax increase plus a 3% Adult Social Care precept to go towards some of the additional and growing costs of providing services to older people.
Councillor John Beesley, Leader of the Council, said: “The latest reductions in core funding are well documented. They represent very significant challenges, although to date the Council has a proven track record of managing the delivery of services and balancing its financial position year on year.”
However, the Council is facing both increasing demand for services as well as rising costs. Cllr Beesley explained: “Demand continues to grow for services such as Adults’ and Children’s Social Care and Homelessness. The care sector is particularly impacted by wage costs, and we will be spending 79% of the Council’s entire budget on statutory demand-led social care services in 2018/19. In this context, it is interesting to bear in mind that across Dorset, we are projected to have almost 50% more over 80s by 2019 than the national average, making that pressure even more acute.”
To support adults’ and children’s social care, the budget once again makes substantial provision for the most vulnerable with an additional £4.5 million allocated to these services in 2018/19. This is on top of the significant resources allocated to Adults’ & Children’s Services over and above the base budget during each of the last four years.
Councillor Beesley said: “In addition, the Council has agreed to provide an additional £300,000 for helping with homelessness bringing the total spend on these vital services to £9.6m.”
The Council has achieved cumulative savings of £450 million since 2007, with a further £10 million of savings required to balance the 2018/19 budget.
Despite these very significant pressures, the Council’s Financial Strategy will:
- Continue to safeguard priority services – including transport, planning enforcement and tackling anti-social behaviour.
- Continue to secure the early delivery of the Council’s housing ambitions, both in terms of building more Council housing and through providing new homes in the private sector.
- Have facilitated growth and investment in Bournemouth to support economic development and regeneration, and to support the private sector in creating sustainable employment.
- Have driven forward the Council’s commitment to improving the quality of life for residents in the most deprived areas of Bournemouth, especially in Boscombe and West Howe over a shorter time-scale than previously planned.
- Continue with the delivery of yet more organisational change within the Council, driving out further savings and efficiencies wherever possible.
- Continue to see tangible financial returns and added value from the Council’s existing partnerships with BH Live and the Bournemouth Development Company.
- Continue to develop commercial businesses to diversify the Council’s revenue base and secure alternative sources of income to better support the delivery of services in future years.
Along with five other Dorset Councils, Bournemouth is committed to achieving sustainable and improving public services for Dorset residents, through the Future Dorset local government reorganisation proposal. Whatever the outcome of the Future Dorset proposal, it is recognised that we must be at the forefront of leading this change, thus ensuring the opportunities for economic growth, devolved powers and financial security are achieved for our residents. This will become an increasingly key component in our strategic thinking for the future.