Not so long ago the services we provided for residents were largely paid for by the government or by people like you as council tax.
Times have changed – our main government grant now makes up just 2.47 per cent of our total budget.
Nowadays almost a fifth of our budget – £72million to be exact – is money generated by the council, to fund the vital services that we provide for an ever expanding population.
We do this by, for example, selling the energy produced from our energy from waste plant, renting out our buildings and sharing expert teams such as trading standards and planning with other councils.
On Monday cabinet members will be discussing a scheme that has generated the council a hefty profit and offered some of our residents free energy.
Almost five years ago we partnered with Empower Community Management LLP to deliver solar panels on residential properties across the city and the UK, investing £23million capital funding in the process.
It’s been a real success story for the council, with thousands of residents benefitting from the installation of solar panels at no cost to themselves and free energy. Importantly, it’s also generated a hefty return on our investment – £2.6million in the past four years. This is money we have been able to use to provide valuable front-line services for residents at a time when government funding has been drastically reduced and demand for services has grown rapidly.
The loan was only ever short term – that’s the reason we have received such a good rate of return on it – and we are now close to passing our investment in this scheme to a company that will repay our loan and continue to manage the solar panels to the benefit of those already signed up.
Without income generating projects such as this, we couldn’t deliver a balanced budget and provide the services that you and thousands of other residents rely upon.
We’ve got plenty more ideas too, which I will tell you about as soon as I am able. (more…)