Budget spending plans 2012/2013Communication Service - January 2012
Difficult financial landscape
This year, councillors will decide on the spending plans for 2012/13 (and for the 2 following financial years) at their meeting on February 22.
But the last 18 months have seen a constant review and challenge of spending against the council priorities. Last February, there was cross party agreement from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups on a three year budget which meant that our books would balance over the period 2011-14.This has already involved taking many difficult decisions.
In 2011/12, revenue spending plans, including schools, totalled £932 million - funded mainly from a number of specific central government grants allocated direct to the Council, totalling £651 million. The balance of funding came from council tax at (£155 million), and other external income such as funding from other public bodies, as well as fees and charges. The scale of funding reductions impacting on Kirklees in 2011-15 means there is little room for manoeuvre in terms of where savings come from. As the Council spends more than 40% of its budget on staff this has inevitably led to a reduction in the number of people who work for the Council and it will inevitably mean further reductions in numbers of employees or cuts to services.
However, within the current three year agreement, there were a number of areas where councillors decided further discussion and fine-tuning was needed. These included timing of savings (for example in libraries), areas for investment to reduce future spending (for example in adult social care), and areas where local people would need to be consulted further (for example the Early Intervention Review).
We have also invited members of the public to have their say on general budget issues, and aim to balance the differing views of people and groups across the district. People can have their say through the website, at area committees or in consultation events.
The Innovation and Efficiency programme has been central to that - managing duplication, reducing the size of the council, reducing management levels and ensuring we get best value for money for all the spending Kirklees does. We also strive to keep as much of our buying as we can in the local area, as we realise the impact we have on the local economy.
The Innovation and Efficiency programme is on target to achieve budget savings of £13.4 million by the end of this financial year. A further £14.3 million is targeted to be saved over the next two years.
These savings from the way in which the council is run are complemented by doing this differently including investing in preventative services to reduce future demand in aspects of adults and children's services. But this is all set against our overall need to find budget savings by 2015 of up to £64 million in total. In the Autumn Statement in November 2011 the Chancellor indicated that further savings in public expenditure would be required in 2015/16 and 2016/17 and although final details have yet to be announced it is expected that local authorities such as Kirklees, will be expected to make a contribution.
So there are difficult years ahead, as we reconfigure the council to meet our priorities and our vision for where we need to be by 2015, delivering or commissioning the high quality services Kirklees people deserve and looking for value across all of our services.
Budget strategy overviews
- Directorate for Children and Young People
- Place Directorate
- Resources Directorate
- Wellbeing and Communities Directorate
The council will also take on responsibility for public health from the NHS, and will continue to work with all our partners including the police, the probation service, the voluntary and community sector and private businesses where that means the best outcome for Kirklees.
Residents should also recognise that although only 17p in every pound the council spends comes from council tax, this is an important source of income in assessing the right balance between raising finance and implementing cuts.
Council tax payers also rightly expect that they see a range of universal services provided from their council tax including emptying bins, street lighting and road maintenance, but the council spends over 60% of its resources on personal and targeted services for the vulnerable or those with specific needs and at a time when demand for these services is growing. This is the background against which cuts in central government funding give rise to the very real and difficult choices which Councillors will have to make on 22 February.