The Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, announced a £35m spending cut in his budget proposals on Monday.
Approximately 330 jobs will go as a result of the cuts, and the Mayor said most of these losses will be felt in administrative roles, while 100 will be compulsory redundancies. Mr Ferguson pre-empted reactions at the beginning of his budget proposals, by saying he knew, “like the rest of the world”, that public cuts would be necessary during his time as Mayor.
Approximately 9% of the city’s budget will be lost, adding to the £56m spending reduction that has already been made in the last two years.
The Mayor said: “The proposals invest in stimulating Bristol’s economy in a sustainable way, whilst cutting out any identifiable areas of waste, because I am dedicated to squeezing every last penny of value from tax payers’ hard earned money.
“These proposals reduce spending where possible by cutting back heavily on management and back office functions rather than front-line services. Savings will be found by reconsidering which is the best organisation to provide some council services.
“This will sometimes will mean asking the voluntary, community or private sector to run services and sometimes will mean moving other services to be provided directly by council staff, depending on which gives the best level and value of service in each case.
“A majority of the proposals – £19.5 million – are from working in a more modern, cost-effective way. There are more efficiencies than service reductions with negative impacts on service users.
The proposals include reducing around £4.5 million in management and back office costs. “I am working hard to bring extra funding, jobs and investment to Bristol, but have decided to pause where appropriate to reconsider whether some previous capital investment schemes are affordable in current circumstances.
“I want to increase our income by reviewing and increasing some charges we levy, where they are not making a fair contribution to the cost of the service.”
Mr Ferguson suggested a further £65m spending reduction would be made over the next three years, as he highlighted he only found out the settlement from the Government on the 19th December.
He said: “To reality-check these budget proposals that my cross-party cabinet and I have developed, I’ve brought in a panel of three unpaid finance and business experts to review the details and make helpful suggestions.
“I’ll be working every bit as closely with people from the voluntary and community sector to map out our plans for the future.
“I feel we all need to acknowledge that even after several years of shrinking public finances, there will be further substantial cuts in years ahead.
“This means that in the future, the council will inevitably provide fewer services and employ fewer staff.”