Bromley Council Budget 2017-18
Council Leader's letter
An important part of our budget setting process is to understand your views. Last year we heard what you thought of our plans for the Borough, and with your comments in mind, we updated and relaunched our Building a Better Bromley priorities. Our key partner organisations have signed up to help deliver this vision.
Again, this year we want to hear what you think as we set the budget for 2017-18:
- What are we doing well?
- Where do you want a greater focus?
- How do we continue to bring organisations together and build better working relationships to help build an even better Bromley?
It’s been a tough few years of change
Recent years have been tough, and last year was no exception. We have been through a great deal of change as we look for ways to deliver the best value for money services, while making the substantial savings necessary to balance the budget as Government funding diminishes. Bromley has agreed to work with Government to maximise our income over the next four years, but there is an expectation from Government that local authorities will move towards more self-sufficiency. This will not be without its challenges and there will still be difficult decisions to be made. However, we are making sound investments to fund services, as well as continuing to seek efficiencies in the way we procure and supply services.
We are continuing to look for more ways to increase income, rather than cutting services, and we are always seeking efficiencies. We actively work to attract more business to the Borough which increases business rates and jobs. Last year, government allowed local authorities to apply a two per cent precept to Council Tax to help fund adult social care, an area where all authorities are under pressure from greater demand. The precept has helped to avoid making further reductions in this area; especially important with Bromley’s ageing population.
We want to know whether you think the principle of paying more Council Tax - ring-fenced for specific priorities - should be applied to other key services under pressure from growing demands. And if so, which services?
Modernising and rationalising
As well as changing the way we provide our services, in line with our efficiency agenda, we are also modernising the way we work. For example, the Civic Centre office project will result in office space which will be more compact and cheaper to maintain. This will provide a more flexible, cost effective and efficient way of working.
Improving, despite challenges
Despite the challenging times in which we find ourselves, we still seek to improve our services and we are ambitious for everyone in our Borough, especially our children and young people. We have much to enjoy and look forward to in Bromley. Major developments are nearing completion in Bromley South, the smart new restaurant terrace is open in Bromley Queen’s Gardens, High Street improvements have been made in Penge and Orpington and more will take place in Beckenham very soon. With our burgeoning higher education provision and the promise of a technical aviation centre in Biggin Hill, as well as the establishment of a Heritage Museum, there are exciting times ahead. We have achieved all this and still remain debt free - unlike many other London Boroughs - and so do not compromise or put at risk our future through a regime of borrowing to balance the budget and paying interest.
Strength in our volunteers
You, our residents, also contribute so much through our Friends Groups and our many active voluntary organisations which, with our support, help to complement our core services. Together with other local organisations, we are committed to fulfilling our Building a Better Bromley promises to ensure we have a borough we can be proud of now and into the future.
Councillor Stephen Carr
Leader of Bromley Council