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The 2013/14 Budget - What You Need To Know

Friday March 1 2013

Barnsley Council have agreed a package of savings of almost £16million.

The authority has confirmed that council tax bills for council services will not rise from April, although increases in police and fire authority precepts mean Barnsley residents will see an average increase in their bills of 0.45 per cent.

Presenting the council's budget for the new financial year, Cllr Alan Gardiner said the focus was on corporate and administrative savings to protect, as far as possible, the most vulnerable.

“Our commitment to improve the borough and the prospects for our communities remains, and we are well on the path of determining what our ‘Future Council’ will look like and what roles our communities will play in that future,” Cllr Gardiner told us.

The future, he explained, would be centred on three priorities of growing the economy, improving people’s potential and achievement, and changing the relationship between the council and its community.

Cllr Gardiner said the success of Barnsley's economic strategy would be pivotal to the council's funding in future years.

This is because under the government's new Business Rates Retention scheme, the council will be able to retain 50 per cent of business rate collected locally. However, it will have to fund 50 per cent of any uncollected rates - when, for example, a business fails.

Barnsley Council's 2013/14 budget is the third since the government’s Spending Review of October 2010 which led to reductions in local government spending. The council's budget for 2012/13 delivered £7 million of reductions on top of £22 million delivered in 2011/12.

Cllr Gardiner said a recent announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer would mean additional cuts in Barnsley in 2014/15 over and above those previously announced.

This will mean estimated spending reductions of £50 million in Barnsley over the next four years to 2016/17 - with £16 million having to be made when setting the 2013/14 budget.

Overall, Barnsley Council will spend £80 million per year less on its services, every year, by 2016/17.

Cllr Gardiner said: "Despite this position, we have remained committed to try to protect as far as possible those front-line services that matter to our communities and seek to deliver our council for the future."

"We have also been able to maintain services which are right on people’s doorsteps, for example, street cleaning and looking after the town’s environment. In the future, our new arrangements for area councils will decide local priorities for these and other services."

He confirmed Barnsley's continuation of the council tax discount scheme for over-65s, introduced four years ago.

From April, the council will also become responsible for a Local Council Tax Discount Scheme that replaces the current benefit system; this will mean there will be people who receive a council tax bill for the first time.

He said savings of this magnitude could not be delivered without impacting on jobs within the council.

Councillors and senior managers had tried to minimise the impact by not filling vacant posts, redeployment, appropriate voluntary retirements and one-to-one support for staff affected.

Changes to employee terms and conditions, agreed in the 2011/12 budget, have also been restored as originally promised, with employees entitled to increments and other benefits from this April.

Cllr Gardiner added: "As the future for Barnsley and local government as a whole looks extremely difficult, the decisions that we need to take today will underpin ongoing work required to deliver our future council."

Do you think the council's done a good job in this budget? Have your say below.

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Reply Posted by Robert on Friday March 1 2013 at 11:42
I think they are certainly making the best out of a bad situation. It appears that this coalition government is making the "north" pay for the "south". If BMBC can get through this, then they will get through anything. We have no alternative but to knuckle down and help each other. ~ SHOP LOCAL, BUT LOCAL AND SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES ~

Reply Posted by David on Friday March 1 2013 at 11:49
After promising to protect the vulnerable, Barnsley Council has now decided to hit the most vulnerable and disabled with a council tax bill. The vulnerable and disabled are those worst affected by the current coalition government attacks and for Barnsley Council to follow suit is to say the least, SHAMEFUL!

Reply Posted by Mick on Friday March 1 2013 at 14:37
The council have no choice but to make everyone contribute something to the council tax. Pensioners are protected. People who pay nothing now, might have to pay about £3 a week.

Reply Posted by Aunt Hilder on Friday March 1 2013 at 17:17
Dave, I can understand your frustration and anger at the new council tax discount scheme but the blame has to stop with the Government, not the council.

Previously, every penny spent on council tax benefit was recovered from central government. Now the Government are only going to give 90% but have told councils that pensioners must not suffer any cuts to their rebates.

This means that the council has to find the 10% savings from the working age population clawing benefits. About half of council tax benefit claimants are pensioners and half working age. This means that the 10% savings has to be found from only half the claimants, hence the bad news.

The council cannot refuse to implement the new scheme but this Government is sneaky. Getting the council to implement their Nast policies and taking the blame locally while they sit in London smirking.


Reply Posted by Aunt Hilder on Friday March 1 2013 at 21:31
(four hours later.......)

And it's still Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Bloody Tories

Reply Posted by Ged on Saturday March 2 2013 at 21:27
Next time you're waiting at the checkout and the person in front has mostly "No Frills" groceries, consider what could be missing in order to pay the £3. That's beans on toast for the week. That £3 could be lunch for the week. Not much really?

Of course if there's seven tins of beans and a thick loaf you know lunch is secure ... until April.

Reply Posted by Phil on Saturday March 2 2013 at 23:27
What we all have to remember is that the country is just about bankrupt. It is bankrupt primarily as a result of the banking crisis and the last Labour governments spending spree where billions of pounds were frittered away with no tangible benefits being seen.

It appears that most folk want the government to keep spending when quite simply there is no money to spend.

While I am no supporter of David Cameron, I have to say that he and the government are having to clear up the mess which Gordon Brown and his cronies left behind.

Reply Posted by Tony on Sunday March 3 2013 at 11:56
Phil, you've had your Labour rant, I hope you feel better now, Blame Blair, Maggie, the bankers, no matter, we are where we are now.

The issue here is from where to make savings? Not from the disabled in my view. Some are wishing their lives away until they can draw their pensions and get off benefits. We're not letting them get any nearer to this goal by increasing retirement age, instead we are keeping them on benefits for longer.

My suggestion by example: Take a 62 yr old with a bit of a pension pot that could bring in around £100 a week, but living off £150 benefits so can't do it. Allow early retirement, take the pension, off benefits, country saves £50 a week net. Further savings from the admin of benefits. Person on £200 a week and spends it (economy boost), win - win.

Of course Cameron's view would be to force people to take pensions early to save benefits.

Reply Posted by carl on Sunday March 3 2013 at 17:59

Reply Posted by Sharon on Sunday March 3 2013 at 18:45
So many concerns to debate, well done to WAB for providing a forum for Barnsley folks to discuss. Two more to add to the debate:

1. In support of the council I expect that the remaining employees are going to have an increasingly difficult job of covering public services going forward. Everyone can point to the council worker leaning on a shovel of having an extended lunch break but I expect many to be hard working local residents trying to do their best.

2. In criticism of the council. How can the cost of the fountains at the side of the town hall be seen as a priority in these austere times?

More thought please Cllr Gardiner and colleagues!

Reply Posted by rainbow on Tuesday March 5 2013 at 09:41
How come everybody's budget gets cut but the Police and Fire Brigades keeps going up.?? Are we not in it all together or is the local authority simply caving in to the Police Federation and the all powerful Fireman's union.???

Reply Posted by may on Wednesday March 6 2013 at 12:07
probably because unlike most of us rainbow these guys have our lives in their hands 24hrs a day 7 days a week and i include drs nurses etc in that too. any service who gives life and death services should never under any circustances have to face budget cuts.if you have to ring 999 for a service it should be left alone

Reply Posted by Aya on Saturday September 26 2015 at 15:19
Karen The people in the clubs on both sides are fine, upnsnaditg people who are committed to Point Pleasant. That's a great thing. But, when we gather under the banner of a Party or a team, we begin to de-humanize the other side. Suddenly, it's not about that person who wants to work with me or you or whoever to make our town better. It's about who holds the majority of votes and can force through whatever short-sighted garbage they want. The other side is seen as bad simply because they are the other side. I don't think it was always like this, but it seems to be more so every year. And, of course, every year we jump right back into bed with the same cast of pay-to-play professionals who, along with the union leaders, milk towns across New Jersey for everything their taxpayers are worth. It's obviously a systemic problem but it's time for change. The people should abandon those partisan clubs and all meet together as residents of Point Pleasant. I bet we'd get further over the next 5 years if we were united rather than divided into petty partisan teams.

Reply Posted by Infinity on Thursday April 14 2016 at 06:44
You've really helped me untensdard the issues. Thanks.

ipso Regulated