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  1. ITV Report

Bristol's budget cuts to be more brutal than expected

Marvin Rees says the council will be getting a 'grip on its finances' to Credit: ITV News

Cuts to services provided by Bristol City Council are to be more severe than first feared - and people are going to have to pay more for those that survive.

The Mayor told ITV News that the council will be taking a firm grip on its finances to make sure Bristol has a solid foundation for the future.

In his first briefing since the end of a three-month public consultation, Mayor Marvin Rees has revealed the authority will need to save more than £100 million over the next first years.

£9m
Additional amount to be raised by Bristol City Council
4.99%
Council tax set to rise in April - with the possibility of another hike in 2018
+£6
Increase per month for council tax payers (Band D properties)

To raise an additional £9 million, council tax is set to rise 4.99% from April, with the prospect of another near 5% rise next year. That's more than £6 per month for a Band D property in the city.

I feel like the council has – with the best intentions – been trying to avoid taking the bull by the horns for too long. To be brutally honest this means we have had more work to do and have come to budget setting relatively late, so even these proposals have risk in terms of making all the savings we need.

Whatever happens we must focus on our top priorities and do fewer things ourselves, with partners, volunteers or community groups taking on other services they want to keep.

– Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

The Mayor insists he will still deliver his top seven commitments which is headed by a promise to build 2,000 new homes in the city every year by 2020.

But savings totalling £34.5 million have been proposed from April 2017-18. They will go to the full council for approval on February 21.

They include:

  • £2.6m on care and support for adults
  • £2.5m on council property services
  • £1.6m cutting council jobs
  • £720,000 increasing on-street parking charges
  • £660,000 on parks and green spaces
  • £450,000 on bus subsidies
  • £300,000 on libraries
  • £181,000 on Police Community Support Officers
  • £114,000 reducing household waste collections
  • £90,000 on school crossing patrols

These figures are only for the next financial year and many savings increase substantially over the next five years.

Central Government recently allowed all authorities to add 2% to their council tax, on top of their maximum 1.99% increase, to pay for adult social care.

Further cuts to the amount government pays for new homes to be built is allowing an extra 1% on top of that, making 4.99% in total.

They're not measures we want to take but have to.

It's high time we reinvent the way local government works. We can't be all things to all people any more and it's time third parties and volunteers step in to help provide the services they want or need.

I have to be honest and acknowledge that, try as we might, the very nature of council services mean that some of the people we would rather protect are going to be affected.

– Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol