Councillor Louise Miles, cabinet member for resources, will present a report to her cabinet colleagues next Wednesday (17 February) setting out the budget for the year ahead.
Once approved by cabinet, it will then be debated and voted on at a meeting of the full council on 3 March.
In order to balance the books and avoid cuts to essential services, the council is proposing to increase council tax by 1.99% and, in line with Government expectations, levy an additional 3% to pay for adult social care.
Councillor Miles said: “We manage our money well and we can set a balanced budget for 2021-2022 without the need to make significant cuts to services, but this is only possible by raising council tax by 1.99% and imposing the Government’s adult social care levy which is an additional 3%.
“When the Government works out how much funding to give to councils, they factor into the calculation that we will raise council tax by the maximum amount possible and they expect us to impose the 3% adult social care levy as well. If we didn’t do that, there would be a shortfall which could only be met by cutting essential services.
“The report before Cabinet next week will set out how we will achieve a balanced budget for 2021-2022, but it will also warn that the council’s financial position between now and 2023-2024 remains extremely challenging and a red risk.
“We are forecasting a deficit of £29.6 million by 2023-2024, there is far too much uncertainty over future funding from Government and of course, we don’t know how long the pandemic will last or what the ongoing social and economic impact will be.
“Greater clarity and a guarantee from Government about future funding for councils would enable us to better plan for the future over the medium and longer term, which is essential as we develop our plans to relight the city after the pandemic.”
After consulting with thousands of local people last year, the council set its priorities for relighting the city after the pandemic as:
- Generating jobs and learning opportunities
- Creating more opportunities for young people
- Supporting people who need it most
- Growing vital local businesses
- Stimulating vibrant high streets and communities
People can let the council know if they feel those are still the right priorities by taking part in an ongoing conversation about the future of Wolverhampton here.
Meanwhile, Councillor Miles and council leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, will be answering residents’ questions about the budget or any other aspect of the council on Facebook and Instagram over the next few weeks. People can submit questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.