Each year the council sets a budget to decide how much it will spend on services for residents and businesses in Poole for the next 12 months.
We prioritise spending on services that:
- promote the health and wellbeing of our residents, especially the most vulnerable;
- ensure all children and young people can achieve their full potential;
- promote Poole’s economic growth and regeneration; and
- protect and enhance Poole’s environment
Funding for local services comes from many sources in addition to Council Tax, including government grants.
In recent years the amount of money Poole gets from government has reduced significantly. Meanwhile, the demand and cost for council services has been rising. This trend is continuing and presents the council with a huge financial challenge over the three years from 2017 to 2020.
Our budget challenge
By 2019/20, Poole will receive no government funding for local services. This means the council will rely on money it raises locally through Council Tax, business rates, fees and charges and any other income it can generate.
With more people living for longer with complex health conditions and an increase in the number of children in care, the council must spend more money each year to look after these people.
We estimate 75% of all council spending will go on services for vulnerable adults and children by 2019/20. This means less money to spend on other important services such as bin collections, libraries, pothole repairs and keeping the streets clean.
Less government funding and increased pressure on spending means we must find savings and efficiencies of more than £23 million between 2017 and 2020.
What have we done so far?
We are working with other Dorset councils to explore long term solutions to sustaining local services through local government reorganisation. However, in the short term, the council has already had to make some difficult decisions.
The council is also adopting a more commercial approach to using its assets and resources to generate income that will help to pay for local services.
- approval of the business case for a new 80 bed care home on land at Mitchell Road providing facilities for vulnerable older people and giving the council a stake in the care market with consequential financial benefits
- approval of the acquisition of an industrial estate in Poole providing a base for local businesses and jobs as well as an income for the council
- approval of the lease restructure with Legal & General Properties for the Dolphin Shopping Centre, Towngate Square and Kingland Crescent leading to investment of over £9.2m and paving the way for further regeneration in the town centre
- approval of £11.8m to deliver 62 new affordable flats on land owned by the council at Canford Heath Road. Managed by Poole Housing Partnership (PHP), the flats will be available for local people in need
- approval of investment in new beach huts and seafront facilities at Canford Cliffs. Not only will this improve the council’s assets, it will enhance the offer to visitors and generate income for the council
What do we still need to do?
Despite the measures already taken, the scale of the financial challenge means we still need to take further action to balance the budget.
We propose to increase Council Tax by 4.99% in 2017/18, with further rises to follow in 2018/19 and 2019/20. This will provide an extra £8.9 million towards our £23 million budget challenge.
However, we will lose a further £11 million a year in government funding by 2020. By comparison, that’s £3.6 million more than we spend each year (£7.4 million) maintaining parks, children’s centres, leisure centres, libraries and museums, keeping the streetlights switched on and filling potholes.
This means we must continue to identify of savings and business efficiencies, including:
- further redesign of services
- sharing more services with other councils
- more commercialisation of services
- increasing fees and charges
- reviewing staff costs
- reducing or stopping services
We are working hard to identify where savings can be found over the next three years. But there is still much more to do in order to meet this challenge.
What can you do to help?
We face a massive budget challenge and many council services are going to change. But if we all do our bit, we can keep Poole a great place to live, work, learn, play and do business.
Find out how you can help us meet our Poole 2020 budget challenge.
Page last updated: 14 May 2019