1. Reductions from Government
Central government funding has been reduced by a further £5m, meaning an overall reduction in core funding of £131m between 2010 and 2020 (55 percent reduction). Despite the reduction, there are no cuts to services for residents in the year ahead and the council continues to provide more than 400 services.
2. Council Tax
Residents will see an increase in council tax of 2.99 percent, but discounts will continue for young people leaving care and armed forces personnel. For people living in a Band A property this will be an increase of 51 pence a week for council services. Council Tax funds 20 per cent of local services, whilst 80 per cent of the funding comes from the government and other sources, such as grants.
The council tax charge for properties that have been empty for more than two years will increase by a further 50 per cent, but will exempt anyone from that additional charge, for a maximum period of 12 months, where the empty property is being actively renovated, to encourage more properties to be brought back into use.
3. Services to residents
There are no cuts to services this year. It is the fourth year of a four year funding deal for the council and the decisions made in the first three years have meant there are no savings in 2019/20. However, the picture after this is uncertain and as yet unclarified by government.
Last year the council committed funding of £23m to a three year highways improvement scheme which has now begun. This budget demonstrates continued commitment to infrastructure which will see a further £4.8m added, making an investment of £27.8m over a four year period.
The council has the ambition to make Hull a cycling city and is investing in the cycle routes and infrastructure. Looking at best practice from cities such as Denmark and the Netherlands will help develop plans, as £2m will be spent over the next two years.
6. Investment in leisure facilities
£1.5 million will be spent in two East Park and Pickering Park, renovating the splash boat and splash pool in East Park and the popular aviary in Pickering Park. There will also be improvements to Beverley Road baths and restoration of the lido facility at Albert Avenue baths.
7. Children and young people services and adult social care
To help meet the increasing demand in both children’s and adult services, an additional £3.1m is being allocated for children and young people’s services and a further £1.25m for adult social care.
The council owns just under 24,000 homes, making it the tenth largest Local Authority housing landlord in the country. For the fourth year running the council will reduce rents by one per cent in line with government policy, and will continue to invest in building new council housing and improving housing through programmes such as thermal cladding.
Over £10m is committed to improve schools infrastructure in the city, with a commitment of £9m in the year after. This will also improve the special educational needs provision in the city.
10. Additional benefits for residents
Hull City Council is one of only fifteen local authorities across the country that continues to provide a free bulky item collection and this will continue through 2019/20. The subsidised school meals will also continue, along with the pensioner bus pass scheme and newly launched KAT card providing discounted travel for young people in education.