Budget 2013: Highly valued services protected – list published by Council
Services for the public protected, Council Tax frozen, and investment in local homes and jobs were the key priorities approved by Bath & North East Somerset Council tonight at its 2013/14 budget setting meeting. A list of just some of the services highly valued by the community that will continue in 2013/14 have been published to increase public awareness of those which are protected.
Councillor Paul Crossley (Lib-Dem, Southdown), Leader of Council, said, “This has been a challenging budget to balance with a combination of the national economic crisis, increases to the numbers of people who are young and old, and rising costs.
“However, as a result of making back office savings of around £25 million over recent years with more to come, living within our means, and taking some difficult decisions, Bath & North East Somerset Council is protecting the vast majority of services to the public. We are publishing this list so that people are more aware of the everyday services that will continue next year.
“There are tens of thousands of people across the area who benefit from these services, whether that is having a continued weekly bin collection or highly specialised package of home care to maintain their independence or use a supported bus service. The services to the public that we are protecting are highly valued by local people and play an important part in their everyday lives and local communities.”
Our priority – Protecting frontline services in 2013/14
To make the budget balance, annual reductions are planned of around £3 million currently planned for each of the next three years, which is equivalent to about 1.3% of our total budget each year – many services to the public continue. This list represents just some of those protected in 2013/14.
Supporting vulnerable people and families
We will continue to fund:
1. The existing 2,200 care packages and placements to maintain the independence of older people and disabled;
2. 1,100 people to use our Personal Budget programme giving them choice over their care packages;
3. The existing Handyperson home improvement services for around 2,000 people through Care and Repair;
4. Social care for around 750 of the most vulnerable young people in our society;
5. Foster care for 135 children and young people;
6. All eight Children’s Centres kept open;
7. Delivery of around 53,000 community meals to older and vulnerable people;
8. A Community Alarm Service to more than 1,300 people to older and vulnerable to get help quickly;
9. Our award winning Independent Living Service which supports 340 people to maintain their independence;
10. The transportation for 150 people to support them to access adult day care services;
11. The Virtual School for Children In Care service for around 150 vulnerable children and young people;
12. Support for around 100 young people who leave care to give them the opportunity of a positive future.
A better quality of life in our communities
We will continue to fund:
13. Weekly waste and recycling collections for all 72,000 households with a new small electrical item collection service;
14. Around 40 lollipop patrols keeping children and parents safe from traffic;
15. All 52 street cleaners retained to maintain our high standards;
16. All three Recycling Centre’s with existing opening times;
17. All eight library branches for people to read and learn;
18. All three leisure centres kept open to help people keep fit and healthy;
19. The existing four Youth Centre’s kept open for young people to socialise and learn the skills they need for adult life;
20. Our network of 103 CCTV cameras operating 24 hours a day supporting a safe and secure environment;
21. A network of over 16,000 streetlights that will be turned-on to keep the public and motorists safe during the hours of darkness;
22. Existing winter roads maintenance commitments including nine gritting vehicles that salt over 260 miles of our road network, over 400 grit bins, and 16 snow warden pilots;
23. Repairs to around 2,000 potholes on our roads – and have the money to do more should severe weather strike;
24. A scheme for 78 schools to cut their energy costs and carbon emissions through practical and financial support.
The day-to-day funding of schools and teachers is separate from the Council’s spending.
Supporting people to live, work, and learn
We will continue to fund:
25. Over 50 bus services that wouldn’t otherwise operate;
26. Support for 60 people who are either care leavers or long-term unemployed to get into a work placement;
27. Hundreds more business clinics and workshops for companies looking to start-up;
28. Support for the private sector to increase the take-up of apprenticeships by around 5%;
29. Transport services for around 1,800 eligible young people every day to get to our local schools;
30. Our School Meals Service which, alongside our schools, serves-up 900,000 meals for Primary School children;
31. Free entry for all residents to the Fashion Museum, Roman Baths, and most exhibits at the Victoria Art Gallery;
32. Places for 900 children and 200 adults on our Bikeability scheme which encourages safe cycling;
33. All three One Stop Shops in Bath, Keynsham, and Midsomer Norton kept open and improved.
The pressure from the combination of Government funding reductions, demographic change, and rising costs will continue in the future. This may require further prioritisation of our services.
Our Priority – Investing in homes and jobs for local people
The Council is also investing in a range of projects to provide new homes, new jobs, and better infrastructure to the area.
Councillor David Bellotti (Lib-Dem, Lyncombe), Cabinet Member for Resources, said, “Whilst protecting frontline services and freezing Council Tax, we must also make sensible investments into the fabric of our communities so that once the national economic slowdown is over our district is in the best possible position to advantage of the recovery through providing new homes, more jobs, and better transport.”
The projects include:
- Progressing the Bath ‘City of Ideas’ Enterprise Area through a combined total of over £27 million to regenerate key sites along the River Avon with employment space and places to live, including affordable homes;
- Completing a £34 million revamp of Keynsham town centre that will encourage private sector investment into the community;
- Regenerating communities, including Radstock where an upgrade of the road network will support new homes and jobs, and London Road, Bath;
- Continuing the £27 million upgrade of Bath’s transport network to tackle congestion, improve air quality, and encourage economic growth;
- £4 million on school improvement and expansion projects.
Find out more
Detailed information about the budget, including how the Council is making back office savings and the full medium term financial plans for each service in the Council is available at www.bathnes.gov.uk/budget2013