Council Executive recommends budget in response to public feedback
7 February 2018
After consulting with residents, our Executive is recommending that the Council accepts a lower overall increase in Council Tax of 4.5% and rejects the alternative option of an increase in Council Tax of 6%.
More people took part in the budget consultation than ever before and whilst the majority of respondents supported an increase of 3% to fund care services for vulnerable adults, views on additional council tax increases for other services were more mixed.
Councillor Richard Wenham, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: "We have listened to what the public have told us through the consultation on our savings plans and council tax options. It’s clear that the majority of people are prepared to pay more for vital care services, but fewer people supported the additional 3% Council Tax option than were opposing it. We need to recognise that people are facing real pressures, particularly those on fixed incomes, and we must respond to that.”"
The Executive’s recommended budget includes the application of an Adult Social Care precept which would see an increase in Council Tax of 3% specifically to contribute towards funding vital care services. It rejected the option of increasing Council Tax by an additional 3% for funding of other services, recommending the alternative option a smaller increase of 1.5%.
The application of the Adult Social Care precept would result in a weekly increase of 82 pence in Council Tax for an average household (Band D)which, combined with the proposed 1.5% increase in council tax, would result in a total weekly increase of £1.22.
The public also wanted to see us continuing with our efficiency drive which is set to bring savings of £13.8 million. This is in addition to the £120 million of efficiency savings the council has made since 2009.
Additionally, Executive has recommended investment of more than £85 million on capital projects, including road and footway maintenance, new school buildings, leisure centres and extra care schemes.
"We work really hard to keep these rises as low as possible but have to accept that government now expects councils to fund local services through Council Tax. Next year, our increases will equate to £6.4 million of income, but the cut in central government funding will be £9 million. This means the pressure to drive efficiency continues and we’re committed to do so" added Councillor Wenham.
The final budget is subject to approval by Full Council at a meeting on 22 February.