Budget process: Further update following publication of financial report

Following on from my earlier note on the budget setting process, two significant steps have been taken this morning and I am keen to share those with all staff.

Firstly the Council’s latest quarterly financial report has been published and will be considered by members at the City Growth and Resources Committee on February 7. The report can be viewed here.

The report outlines the pressures we are experiencing in 2018/19 and shows continued prudence in the weeks ahead is essential.

It also adds more detail on the 2019/20 budget and specifically on the scale of the challenge. As mentioned previously, the funding gap we face due to decreasing funding and increasing cost pressures is far greater than we could have anticipated.

As the committee report states, we are working on the basis of a 2019/20 gap of between £40million and £50m. I appreciate those numbers will be concerning, but I can assure you that we are being proactive as we work towards setting a balanced budget next month.

There are many variables still to be determined before Council meets on March 5 to set the annual budget, but the final figure will clearly be significant.

We received notification yesterday afternoon of additions to our settlement as the result of the ongoing budget process in the Scottish Parliament and welcome positive steps. We’ll consider the implications of those changes ahead of our own budget meeting as we focus on the £40m to £50m gap we must bridge.

Today the Co-Leaders met with city stakeholders to brief them on the challenges and to encourage the partnership working that will be so important as we continue to work towards meeting our shared aims.

On the theme of engagement, I’ve been greatly encouraged by the response from across the Council following the invitation to share your ideas and views over the past week.  You can still play a part through the Transformation Zone.

Thank you once again for your support and valued contributions.