The council will be able to keep the rise in council tax at 4.4% by finding savings of some£23m. These include:
-£5m gained from 60 voluntary redundancies and reductions in sickness absence
-£5.8m savings from efficiencies and refocusing services
Sir Albert said: 'We have managed to keep the rise in council tax to 4.4% and balance the budget, without making inroads into vital frontline services. We have, on the contrary, recognised the tremendous pressures which have faced social services in providing care for elderly people, and have allocated an extra£8m for adult placements, which will be added to the additional government grant of£6.7m. And with education, we have, as in previous years, passed on the extra resources (£33m in 2002/3) which the government has provided.
'In setting the budget, we have, as always, to make certain assumptions about the levels of future pay and price rises. However, I am confident that we have made realistic provision for the demands which will be placed upon the council. I am also confident that Birmingham's proposed increase in council tax will compare favourably to national and regional figures.'