Cuts in everything from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to council transport services and potentially Local Government Association membership form part of the city’s 2019-20 budget consultation.
A public consultation, which runs from 13 November to 31 December, seeks views on how to make £18m worth of savings at the UK’s largest local authority.
It included a proposed 20% cut in non-staff spend in the leader and policy team, which Birmingham described as budgets that “support the council’s membership of external bodies (e.g. the Local Government Association, Core Cities, Euro-cities and West Midlands Employers)”.
The council said it had saved around £690m since 2010 and needed further savings of £86m over the next four years, including £50m next year. However, all but £18m of the £50m savings for 2019-20 have already been subject to consultation.
The city’s proposals are based on a 2.99% increase in council tax in 2019-20 and 1.99% in later years, plus a further 2% precept for social care.
Leader Ian Ward (Lab) said: “This continues to be the most challenging period in Birmingham City Council’s history.
“Local government funding has been reducing for over a decade and this has meant changes to many services provided by the public sector, but also an increasing need for communities and others to support where we are no longer able to.”
The budget consultation does not propose deep cuts to major spend areas but would affect most aspects of the council’s work if implemented.
Examples in it include a one-third reduction in arts and cultural support, including to the orchestra, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
All except vulnerable residents would be deterred from contacting the council by phone or post in a push towards cheaper online communications.
Other proposals include less frequent lift inspections in public buildings, dimming street lights to half full power, withdrawing funds for the city’s tourist information centre and investing in pelican crossings instead of recruiting new school crossing patrol wardens.