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Our budget principles

We have developed a set of budget principles which will underpin the council’s budget decisions and seek to limit the impact of budget cuts on the city’s most vulnerable residents.

  • We’ll continue to manage budgets carefully, with control on expenditure ensuring the best possible services and strive to obtain value for money for the taxpayer

  • We’ll be responsible and strive to become a financially sustainable council by developing a robust rolling three-year Medium Term Financial Strategy

  • We’ll produce a Medium Term Financial Strategy which supports our net zero carbon objective sand helps us create a Council which is environmentally as well as financially sustainable

  • We’ll set a direction of travel to improve the council’s financial health and resilience by increasing reserves balances and reducing our borrowing where appropriate. This will be outlined within our annual Reserves Policy and Capital Strategy.

To achieve this we will

  • Fully consider the benefits of increasing Council Tax in line with the maximum referendum limit to ensure the council is best placed to continue providing the same range and quality of services

  • Continue to find alternative ways of providing services more efficiently and effectively by working jointly with partner organisations such as the health sector, the voluntary sector, local businesses, and other local authorities

  • Take every opportunity to maximise technology, digitalisation and transform working practices to make the council more efficient

  • Seek to generate additional income by reviewing our sales, fees, and charges, including those for discretionary services

  • Where possible, we will protect services that support the city’s most vulnerable, including adults and children’s social care services. However, some of our current services may stop; many will have to be delivered differently or reduced.

  • A reduced budget will likely mean that the size and composition of our workforce will change; we’ll treat our staff with respect, do all we can to retain staff through redeployment and retraining, to minimise compulsory redundancies

  • Seek to maximise income opportunities from commercial services and investments

  • Maintain a tight grip on our capital expenditure, by maximising grant income and prioritising schemes in line with our capital strategy principles - this will contribute towards reducing the council’s total borrowing

  • Maximise the use and return from our estate by maximising the use and return on our assets

  • Scrutinise all requests for investment to ensure we maximise the return (financial benefits) and protect our reserves balances

  • Conduct an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) for our budget proposals

  • Develop a process by which in the council’s overarching budget setting process, wherever possible, spending and investment plans are focussed on enabling the Council to better achieve its corporate objective of achieving net zero carbon by 2030. We will also undertake Carbon Impact Assessments (CIA) of all major budget proposals.

  • Conduct consultation on the tough choices we must make and be transparent with any stakeholder groups, groups of service users or staff who may be affected by any cut, reduction, or significant change in service provision, and explore with them other ways to provide the service

Underpinning all of the above, we will be open and honest about our financial position with our residents, businesses and service users.