Council budget consultation
Bromley continues its successful commitment to sound financial management and fiscal responsibility, but the much-publicised cost/growth pressures on key services on local government are raising serious concerns during this year’s budget setting.
A renewed call for additional Government funding for Local Government was unanimously approved by Full Council in October requesting a redress of the insufficient funds available to deliver the services residents expect and deserve, with Bromley historically receiving lower government funding than comparable local authorities. Unfortunately, the subsequent settlement proved to be a disappointment as it did not provide sufficient additional funding for key (including statutory) local government services, including adult and children’s social care, special educational needs and housing services which have all seen a significant increases in demand and costs needed to support these vital services for residents.
While Bromley’s higher level of reserves than many puts the council at less immediate threat than other less careful local authorities, the budget that is currently being set for 2024/25 remains challenging.
The council’s transformation programme which has been seeking new and innovative ways to deliver quality services and, in many cases, make savings too will go some way to mitigating the financial challenges being faced, but nowhere near enough to cover the current projected budget gap of around £16.6m in 2025/26 increasing to £38.7m per annum in 2027/28.
Bromley will continue to fight for a fairer funding formula, but in the meantime, we will inevitably have to look at every way possible to mitigate demand and realign services to make the savings required to deliver the required balanced budget. The scale of the medium-term challenge could have a detrimental impact on key services.
It is against this unfortunate national context, that views are being sought from residents about their priorities so these can be taken into consideration during the budget setting process. Residents are encouraged to read further background to the financial situation before responding to the consultation. This background gives further information around how and where the council’s budget has been spent, what has been achieved over the last year and around the difficult challenges being faced.
This consultation is now closed and thank you to those who responded.