Your views on balancing the budget

Proposals for Bath & North East Somerset Council to address its predicted shortfall for the next financial year by drawing from reserves and making savings will be under discussion in a series of webinars starting next week and residents are invited to have their say.

Three identical sessions called ‘Improving People’s Lives: our aims for the budget in 21/22’ will explore the council’s plans to deliver savings to live within its means whilst continuing to provide frontline services, increase council tax and invest in services differently.

The webinars will address that in order to deliver a balanced budget, the council will need to:

• deliver savings to enable it to live within its means whilst continuing to provide frontline services that support residents such as Adult Social Care
• increase council tax to fund both inflationary pressures and increases in service demand and to ensure a fixed income stream
• think and invest in services differently ensuring capital investment addresses council priorities.

People will be able to put questions to Councillor Dine Romero, Council Leader; Councillor Richard Samuel, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Resources; Will Godfrey, the council’s Chief Executive and Andy Rothery, Director of Finance. Questions can be submitted in advance by email to budget@bathnes.gov.uk or by using the Q&A feature during the live discussion.

The first webinar will take place on December 15 on Zoom and will be livestreamed on the council’s YouTube channel, as well as being made available to watch later. The following two events will be held on December 18 and 22.

The council has also launched a new website page which allows people to view upcoming webinars and the registration links, alongside the archive of the fourteen webinars that have already taken place this year with links to the videos https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/webinars 

Councillor Richard Samuel said: “The Medium-Term Financial Strategy agreed by cabinet in October was the first stage in setting our budget for the coming financial year and beginning to address the impact of Covid on our finances. We are now in a position to share more detail on how we plan to deliver our priorities at the same time as living within our means.

“We cannot assume that any further support will be given to us from the Government and therefore we have to take action by drawing from our reserves and making savings across all of our services. To make these decisions effectively in the best interests of residents, we need you to take part in the budget setting process. The series of webinars are a great opportunity to find out about our proposed budget for next year and to put forward your point of view.”

The webinar dates are as follows. Click on the links to register in advance or watch live on YouTube:

https://bathnes.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vK1h_wXzTVmfopDJifeIlQ