Cost of living: 5 things to know about Birmingham City Council budget

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Council tax is increasing and four other things to note about the council’s financial plan

Birmingham families are set to see council tax rise amid increased costs for certain council services – including burials and cremations.

A first draft of the 2022/23 budget has been published by the city council ahead of debate by full council and adoption on February 22.

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Here are five themes from the plan which we think you need to know about.

Council tax is set to go up

Families in Birmingham will have to pay between £34 and £105 more per year in council tax if plans to increase the levy by 2.99 per cent – the maximum amount allowable.

This consists of a 1.99 increase in basic council tax and a one per cent increase in the adult social care precept – meaning this money can only be used to fund adult social care in the city.

Band D properties would see bills rise from £1,748.19 to £1,800.46 for the year under the plans.

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Cost of living - have the people of Birmingham felt the pinch?Cost of living - have the people of Birmingham felt the pinch?
Cost of living - have the people of Birmingham felt the pinch? | LTV

100 redundancies look likely

The authority is seeking to reduce full-time equivalent staff numbers by 100 in the coming year – following last year’s budget which contained no redundancies.

The budget states: “While we will seek to minimise the number of redundancies where possible, provision has been made to meet any associated exit costs through the use of capital receipts flexibility.”

Cuts

Savings of £40.8 million are planned for 2022/23 rising to £107.4 million by 2025/26.

£4.5 million is to be shaved from adult social care in the coming year – including through a programme which seeks to provide “low-level, early interventions” as a way of reducing demand for care services.

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The council intends to save £10.7 million in its council management budget in 2022/23 through such measures as updating IT services for customer services to “introduce greater automation and improve administration capacity within services such as bereavement, waste services and the contact centre”.

Street lighting levels and time in operation are set to be reduced to save a projected £150,000 in the coming year.

The council plans savings of £1.3 million per year on printing, paper and storage costs as a result of staff working from home more and “greater digitalisation of services”.

Birmingham City Council HouseBirmingham City Council House
Birmingham City Council House | LDRs

Changes to fees and charges

Bereavement services costs – including for burials and cremations – are due to rise by one per cent – despite respondents to a consultation last year stating the fees were too expensive.

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Home care charges are to increase by 5.14 per cent “in line with the cost of external provision”.

Charges at sports and leisure facilities – including swim instruction/lessons – will be increased by 8 per cent.

Charges at Cannon Hill Park – including sports activities – are set to rise by 8.3 per cent “in support of the clean air policy and encouraging fitness and wellbeing”.

Shortfall still projected

The financial plan is balanced – but there is a gap of around £33 million projected by 2025/26. The council states: “Further transformative proposals will be developed and reported to Cabinet in due course as part of the rolling budget process.”

To find out more click on: Financial plan

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