The Council is setting out pre-budget proposals, which will form part of its budget in 2019/20.
A report went to Cabinet on Tuesday 27 November when a list of proposals were discussed. These plans are now available and are being used as the basis for consultation.
Council members are keen to identify proposals that maintain frontline services and continue to support people in more difficult circumstances. However, the report also warns of fiscal problems facing the local authority the year after next, which is already looking like a £17m funding gap in 2020/21.
Overall the Council is managing to balance the books through robust financial planning. Achieving a balanced budget next year is likely only because it has identified new commercial income streams, worked hard at increasing its tax revenues, and because of technical measures it has introduced like trimming its contingency budgets.
The Council remains committed to seeking to protect its most vulnerable citizens and to delivering a range of core services to everyone in the city.
The consultation paper also includes a proposed council tax increase. Councillors are hoping to agree on an overall Council Tax increase for 2019/20 of 2.9 per cent as allowed for within Government guidelines. For the majority of Coventry households this would mean an annual increase of around £36 – the equivalent of 70p per week.
The final Budget proposals and any Council Tax increase will be subject to Council approval in February.
Proposals listed in the report would reduce the current budget gap for 2019/20 from £10m to £0.6m, so we are on target for securing a balanced budget.
Further work will be undertaken to address the 2019/20 budget gap outlined in the report between now and the final Budget Report in February.
The problem that the Council is facing in 2020/21 is that the projected financial gap will rise to £17m mainly because of uncertainty around the Local Government finance environment, greater external pressures in some of its demand led services, and continued inflationary pressures. This includes pressures that the Council continues to face from supporting families and individuals in temporary and supported accommodation with additional costs of £2.9m being funded in 2018/19.
The report lists proposals that would help in securing additional income in areas such as commercial waste, planning fees and additional property rents. It also includes dividends generated from the Council’s investment in Coombe Abbey Hotel.
The full Cabinet report lists proposals that form part of this consultation. Examples include -
At the same time the Council is investing in the regeneration and the growth of the city. Examples include:
You can have your say on the proposals by completing an online feedback form. The deadline for responses is midday Friday 25 January 2019.