Read more about the council's budget challenge
The council’s budget for 2017/18:
- manages a further £5 million reduction in annual government funding to Poole
- manages a total cut of £30 million a year in government funding since 2011/12
- prioritises investment in services for the most vulnerable with an extra £2.3 million for adults and children’s social care
- reduces the use of the council’s reserves to £0.8 million
- provides no increase in Members’ Allowances
Cllr May Haines, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance, Borough of Poole, said: “The council has had to make some difficult decisions over the past 12 months to reach a position where we can now set a balanced budget for 2017/18, one that is less reliant on reserves. This budget puts us on a more sustainable footing to face the further financial challenges ahead.
“Further reductions in our government funding and increasing demand for our services means we must reluctantly raise council tax. The 3% increase to social care precept will help, but it does not cover the £5 million reduction in government funding this year.
“We will continue to focus on our priorities with the money available to us, including investment in social care, providing sufficient school places for our young people and making progress on our affordable housing programme. Also, we will continue to look for more savings by changing the way we work, being even more efficient and entrepreneurial in our approach to delivering services.”
Read Cllr May Haines' full Budget speech
The council’s medium term financial plan forecasts a further funding gap of £6.1 million up to 2019/20, over and above its existing savings plans.
Cllr Janet Walton, Leader of the Council, said: “We continue to prioritise our spending where it matters most - on caring for the most vulnerable members of our community. At the same time, this robust budget will help us deliver our ambition for Poole to be a great place to live, learn, work and play - now and for many years to come.
“There is no doubt that the council faces an unprecedented financial challenge as it prepares for a future without government funding for local services. We must live within our means and significant changes are clearly still needed if we are to meet our funding pressures. Poole is not alone in facing this financial challenge and that is why the proposal to change from nine Dorset councils to two new councils offers a real opportunity for transforming the way we deliver services to our local residents."