A SERIES of cost-cutting and revenue-raising measures are to be introduced to public services in Leeds as the city tries to claw back millions of pounds in Government grants which have been slashed in the austerity drive.
Leeds City Council is set to rubber-stamp its 2017/18 budget next month, and plans to raise council tax by an inflation-busting four per cent, review bin rounds and raise parking charges in council-run city centre car parks have attracted particularly strong criticism of the local authority from YEP readers online and in print.
So why do they do it?
Here’s our 2017/2018 Leeds budget breakdown.
What the council says:
Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council: “Leeds has undoubtedly become a more efficient, enterprising and forward thinking council since 2010, which means we have been able to protect many council services effectively.
“However the fact demand for services continues to grow significantly places a huge amount of pressure on what is now a much reduced budget.
“We will continue to prioritise the money the council does have in supporting the most vulnerable in the city. But without a radical change in the national approach to funding local authorities the significant impact needed on deep-rooted problems associated with inner city poverty is now very hard indeed to deliver.”
The reduction in Government funding to Leeds since 2010. That’s 47% of its core funding.
The council itself will continue to get smaller in size, with an estimated reduction of up to 800 full-time equivalent posts next year.
These will add to more than 2,500 full-time equivalent posts the council has reduced by since 2010.
Despite the cuts, services for vulnerable young and older people will continue to be prioritised with funding in these two areas accounting for 67% of the council’s proposed budget for 2017/18. This would represent an increase of 3% on the current share of the council’s budget.
Amount of extra council tax a family in an average Band D property will have to pay next year if increase is ratified.
Leeds’ Government grant cut for 2017/18 alone.
Overall budget shortfall in 2017/18
Current average Band D council tax
Extra income to the city from the proposed council tax rise
Initially proposed council tax rise next year (includes a 3 percent social care levy)
Annual saving from cutting council jobs