Birmingham council unveils financial plans for the city’s “golden decade”
A plan designed to maximise the potential of a “golden decade” for Birmingham has been published by the city council.
According to the council, the economic plan has a strategic focus on early intervention and prevention to level-up life chances and the benefits of growth for every street, neighbourhood, and community.
Its publication follows a public engagement in late 2021, through which the people of Birmingham were asked for their views on how the city council’s resources should be prioritised.
The overarching aim of the financial plan is to build a city which is focuses on five key areas, being prosperous, inclusive, safe, healthy and green.
Prosperity through continued economic growth, tackling unemployment, attracting inward investment and infrastructure, and maximising the opportunity of the Commonwealth Games. Inclusivity through empowering citizens, looking after vulnerable children, supporting young people to fulfil potential, and promoting diversity, opportunities and culture.
A safe city through the tackling of anti-social behaviour and hate crime, housing provision and addressing homelessness; and improving living environments, civic pride & culture.
Health is to be tackled by addressing health inequalities, encouraging and enabling physical activity and healthy living, quality of care, and helping to support mental health; while a greener city is hoped to be achieved by improving the cleanliness of Birmingham and its streets, improving the environment and air quality, carbon reduction and enabling an inclusive green transition.
Opportunities that the plan looks to capitalise on include this year’s Commonwealth Games, for which Birmingham is Proud Host City, continued investment in major projects such as HS2 and the city’s strong economic base as the hub for a diverse range of industries – which make it the engine of the West Midlands economy.
The Financial Plan assumes an annual increase in Council Tax at 1.99 per cent. Given the significant long-standing pressure on social care services reflected in the budget proposals, the budget report also proposes to increase Council Tax further in 2022/23 by the 1 per cent adult social care precept announced by the Government recently in the Local Government Finance Settlement.
The Birmingham City Council element of the annual Council Tax bill is therefore set to increase by 2.99 per cent in total in 2022/23 – equivalent to 86p per week for Band D homes.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a bold budget for Birmingham that will help us reap the benefits of a golden decade ahead for the city, its people and its businesses.
“Despite ongoing pressures and challenges, as well as those emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, we know there is a need to protect and modernise services, whilst investing in areas that are rightly a priority for the people and communities of Birmingham.
“Our strategy focuses on early intervention and prevention to level-up life chances, so that the benefits of growth are felt in every street, neighbourhood, and community and we will work in partnership with other public agencies and the private sector to put Birmingham at the very heart of the levelling up agenda.”