Bristol City Council (the council) is consulting on the level of Council Tax for next year (2021/22). We would like your views on whether a modest rise is acceptable if it helps to sustain the services you have previously told us you most value or whether there should be no increase this year. We are also seeking your views on the possibility of raising additional funds to support social care.
The council provides a wide range of essential services to your local area. Some services are easy to see like road maintenance, street lighting, waste collection, recycling and running libraries. Other services are less visible; such as the assistance provided by the council to provide care and support to people of all ages.
As a council, as well as providing essential services to Bristol’s residents, we work with other organisations to enable them to provide services as well. The Corporate Strategy 2018-2023
explains how services are shaped to meet the city’s population growth, the increases in the need for care services for the most vulnerable, and the council’s financial challenges. Our ambition is to make sure everyone, regardless of background or where they live, receives the services they need and will have a home from where they can achieve their aspirations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on the city and on the council’s financial resources. In responding to the public health, social and economic crisis the council has taken steps to support its residents, businesses, suppliers and the wider community.
In October, Bristol’s One City partners launched a City Strategy for Recovery and Renewal which sets out the city’s roadmap to recovery from the pandemic; addressing the emergency needs of our economy and building resilience within communities.
The full impact of COVID-19 on the council’s spending and income, including Council Tax and Business Rates which together account for about 35% of the council’s income, is not yet fully known. The budget shortfall in 2020/21 is currently estimated to be £77 million. This is due to:
- the additional amount we’ve spent so far in our response to the pandemic;
- the difficulty we face when trying to make planned efficiencies in areas such as social care;
- the loss of income that came from the temporary closure of services like museums and libraries;
- the significant reductions in commercial rental and parking income.