Budget 2015/16 - your views count
Welcome to the Leeds City Council budget for 2015/16. We are facing some difficult decisions with the services we continue to provide. Our net budget has been reduced by £44.2m for the next financial year, with less core funding from the government being the main element of that. Leeds has already lost £129m of core government funding over the last four years, and the council also has to deal with other pressures including the loss of other funding, the rising costs of inflation and increased demand for our services.
The budget was agreed on 25 February 2015 at a Full Council meeting of our 99 elected members. You can see the budget in full in the Documents
section of this page.
Your views help shape the budget
When we make decisions about the future of council services, we take into account evidence from a wide range of sources. Financial information, the law, and changes in demand all play a part, as do the views and ideas of people who use local services.
Who took part?
Since 2012, over 4500 of you have told us your priorities for council spending, and thousands more have had their say on the future of key council services. In December and January alone, over 500 of you shared your views on our Initial Budget Proposals (the draft budget). In the same period, nearly 7000 of you visited our budget webpage, and almost 1000 watched our budget challenge film, the first time we’ve used video in this way. We promoted the consultation widely, online, through local press, social media, community groups and information in our public buildings. You can find out more on the most recent budget consultation in the Budget Report in the Documents
section of this page.
Recognising tough choices
Many of you feel that the council is managing well in a very difficult situation, but you expect us to explore a wide range of efficiencies and new ways of working before making cuts to frontline services. We plan to make significant savings by changing the way we work, including:
- £5.5m through new ways of delivering internal support services
- £5.5m through managing our suppliers and contracts differently
- £2.1m through reducing the number of office buildings we have
The council itself will continue to get smaller, with a further reduction of over 400 staff.
Supporting the most vulnerable
Protecting services that support vulnerable adults, children and young people as far as possible is important to many of you. There was support for the principles of the council’s proposals, but concerns around maintaining high quality services. We agree, so the budget has a proportionately smaller impact on these areas and we’ve maintained our spending on adult social care.
Looking to the future
A lot of you support our budget’s focus on tackling poverty and helping people live healthier lives. We’re planning ahead to reduce long-term problems and future costs; our Your Community programme brings together support for people looking to get back into, and stay in, work in one place, while Leeds Let’s Get Active helps more people get fit and healthy.
It’s clear many of you see investment in transport and affordable housing as important, even in difficult times. That’s why we’re planning ways to get the best deal for Leeds from HS2, make it easier to cycle in Leeds, and making sure housing growth works for all in the city.
Exploring different ways to fund services
The idea that the council should trade some support services to get income found some support, and many of you preferred to see increases in charges for some services rather than more frontline cuts. In line with these views, our budget includes nearly £8m income from increased fees and charges, and we’re exploring new sources of income such as advertising.
Helping communities do more for themselves
Throughout the consultation, many of you talked about the need for residents to take more responsibility for their actions and neighbourhoods. You talked about issues such as clean streets, but also volunteering and helping in the community. We work very closely with community, voluntary and faith organisations and will be holding a conference in March 2015 to explore even better ways of working together to tackle challenges in the city.
The budget in brief:
- 1.99% increase in council tax
- Council housing rents increase by 2.88%
- Children’s services and adult social care together account for 60% of our total budget for 2015/16: we’re revamping both areas to improve services to families and older people
- £1.1m for the Local Welfare Support Scheme to help those facing severe financial hardship
- An extra £500,000 to help vulnerable children and young people
- £250,000 to establish ‘The Leeds Guarantee’ where every vulnerable young person will be guaranteed a supported opportunity for employment, training or further education.
- £4.8m of newly-secured funding to expand the service to families blighted by problems such as domestic violence or child protection proceedings.
- £250,000 to help residents with severe disabilities living in adapted properties who have seen their housing benefits reduced continue living in their own homes
- The roll-out of alternative weekly bin collections will continue, covering 76% of properties by summer 2015. The garden waste collection service will also be extended
- Fees and charges across the council rising by at least inflation
- Nursery fees rising by 5.1%
- Bereavement charges increasing by 4%
- Highways maintenance budget to be cut by 6%
- Reduced opening hours at leisure centres and contact centres
- Cuts to grants to third sector groups such as arts organisations and the advice agency
- Additional new income will come from public advertising and new temporary car parking
Your Community, Your Say
Your input into our decisions and our services is vital every time. If you’re interested in becoming more involved in the council, decision-making and democracy at a local level where it’s important to you, find out more about the Community Committees by clicking the 'Leeds Citizens' Panel'
link in the the Related Pages
section on this page. You may also be interested in joining the Leeds Citizen’s Panel
. (Click the related link in the Related Pages