Gloucester City Council has set its budget for 2018/19, including a reduced savings target, no reductions in staff, car parking charges being frozen and almost £1million improvement to the revenue budget.
Last night (22nd February), full council met to agree the spending priorities for the next year. The agreed budget will be £14.093 million and it outlines how £200,000 savings will be made over the next financial year.
This savings target will be achieved by reduction in the grant to Marketing Gloucester by £100k, reduction in the grants budget by £50k and income from the Property Investment Fund of £50k.
At the meeting, Leader Cllr Paul James announced that:
- The Kings Walk shopping centre deal with Reef Estates makes almost £1million improvement to the revenue budget for 2018/19.
- The Together Gloucester transformation programme has overachieved on its savings requirement of £1million for 2017/18 by around £200,000.
- £80million Property Investment fund will be used primarily to invest in Gloucester in residential as well as commercial property.
- That council joins the 100 per cent business rates pilot with all Gloucestershire authorities.
- There will be no further reductions in staffing levels.
- Car parking charges will not be increased.
The council will continue to work with other councils and partners to see where services can be shared, taking advantages of opportunities for income generation where they exist and becoming even more efficient.
Following a public consultation, which showed that the majority of residents were prepared to see a small increase to council tax in order to protect vital services, it was agreed that a 2.99 per cent rise in council tax would be introduced, which is in line with the latest figure for inflation.
In addition to Gloucester City Council’s budget for 2018/19 is a £3.75 million cash injection from GFirst LEP. This award is for improvements to Gloucester Railway Station and its immediate environment, including the adjacent subway.
Despite the savings that need to be made over the next year, the council is committed to delivering on its priorities. Supporting vital services and using the council’s assets to promote regeneration of the city.
Cllr Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: “Over the last seven years we have made cumulative savings of £12.4 million. This has been achieved by driving out efficiencies, sharing services with other councils and finding new sources of income.
“While the financial environment we’re operating in remains a challenge, the council’s financial position has been transformed over the last five years meaning we are in a far stronger financial position than previous years.
“I would like to thank other councillors, councils and partners for their hard work throughout the year to achieve this. Lastly, I would like to highlight our eagerness to continue to deliver on the council’s regeneration ambitions and demonstrate how investment income can help to support the council’s budget and vital services we provide.”