Residents are being invited to have their say on Bath & North East Somerset Council’s spending plans for the coming year following a special online Budget Forum held on 14 December
The forum, chaired by council leader Councillor Kevin Guy meeting saw the council’s Chief Finance Officer Andy Rothery, Chief Executive Will Godfrey and Councillor Richard Samuel, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Resources and Economic Development outline the council’s current financial position, the ongoing financial pressures it faces and how its proposing to spend its limited resources.
Residents are now being asked to feedback on the information on the council’s budget plans presented to the forum before the council draws up its detailed budget proposals for 2022/23.
Councillor Richard Samuel said: “It’s important residents understand the financial challenge we face so I was pleased to have the opportunity to present this Budget Forum.
“This year we managed our finances well, we’ve continued to deliver frontline services, helped people through the pandemic and invested in our priorities to improve people’s lives, but our financial challenge is far from over. The pandemic is continuing to have a big impact on our income and we’re also facing an increase in demand for services, such as Children’s Social Care, recruitment and supply chain issues and inflationary pressures.
“We are lobbying the government for further support, but we can’t rely on it and face a projected budget gap of around £15m in 2022/23. During the Budget Forum we explained how that would limit our ability to take on new projects and spending and how we’d need to make savings and generate income.
“We’re proposing to set a budget of £134.3m. This would include significant investment in Children’s and Adult Services, to meet demand and fund care placements. We also plan to allocate additional funding to the Climate Emergency and Neighbourhood Services to expand our recycling teams to cope with the significant increase in kerbside and green waste being recycled by residents and to improve the pay of drivers to increase retention amid the national HGV driver shortage, reducing the risk of missed collections.
“But we want to hear what you think. This consultation is your chance to have your say before we put our detailed spending plans together.”
The consultation is open until Tuesday 4 January. To take part visit our website https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/have-your-say-our-budget-2022-2023
Once the council has considered residents’ feedback it will draw up detailed budget proposals setting out its detailed spending plans for the year ahead.
These will be scrutinised by councillors at the council’s Policy Development and Scrutiny Panels on Monday 10, Monday 17, Wednesday 18 and Monday 31 January before being considered by Cabinet on Thursday 10 February. Final decisions will be made at the Budget and Council Tax meeting on Tuesday 15 February.
Information about these meetings is listed on our calendar web page.