Protecting Services in the Face of Austerity

Today’s guest blog comes from my Deputy Mayor, Craig Cheney.

 

Despite the on-going challenge of the rising costs of adult social care and slashed government funding, we are pleased to be able to present a budget for this year, that minimises any reduction in services and protects the most vulnerable in our city.

Since the government imposed austerity measures seven years ago the council has had to save £200 million, with a further £80 million needing to be found by 2022/3. This has huge implications for the city and the people who live here.

The increasing demands for caring for the elderly, disabled and children means the costs of these services will rise significantly this year, as in previous years. In total these services represent approximately 60% of the council’s budget – meaning that funding for other services like leisure, highways, parks, etc. continue to be squeezed.

The government has yet to announce any further funding to deal with this social care crisis, beyond passing on tax rises to councils, called a ‘poor tax’ by some.

Despite the Conservative government continuing to hit local people for the government’s own failings in dealing with the social care crisis, we have worked incredibly hard this year to limit its impact on Bristol, instead focussing on how the council does things, how we work with the city and how we can generate more income which we can then spend on services.

The Government has reduced the council’s funding to a staggering degree and has dumped the financial burden for delivering the services we all need onto local taxpayers. This is not a problem which goes away soon. However, we have delivered a budget that sees us defending front-line services, protecting the most vulnerable and means we have a plan that delivers this for the next four years. This administration is absolutely committed to driving a city of hope and aspiration and continuing to deliver on our promises to Bristol.

 

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