Last chance to have your say on spending plans and council tax rise
Date Added: 02/02/2016
Hundreds of residents have already had their say on Central Bedfordshire Council’s spending plans for the next financial year and there is still time for you to have your say before the consultation closes on Monday, 8 February.
Following a further significant reduction in our funding announced by the Government in late December, we are consulting residents on a proposal to increase our share of council tax in order to avoid dramatic cuts to our services including those to vulnerable people, roads maintenance and waste services.
The Government is assuming that councils will raise council tax by 2% specifically to fund adult social care services and also increase council tax further by up to 2% to cover unavoidable cost pressures and increased demand on council services.
The proposed combined increase of 4% – the first in 5 years in Central Bedfordshire – would put almost £1 a week on the bills of the average (band D) household.
To help bridge the gap between income and spend the council has identified £15.3million of possible efficiency savings. However, the additional reduction in government funding of £12million next year alone means we have to look to increase council tax.
A combined increase of just under 4 per cent, including a general council tax increase and a special charge specifically to support adult social care services, would put almost £1 a week on the bills of the average (band D) household.
The Government continues to make it clear that it expects more of the resources required to provide vital services to be raised locally, through council tax. It is assuming that councils nationwide will raise council tax.
Despite pressures the council plans to invest almost £190million in public services from April including £65million on adult social care services, £44million on children’s services, £40million on community services such as roads and transport, refuse collections and leisure and £10million on public health.
Councillor Richard Wenham, Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: “With councils getting less money from Westminster we are looking to raise more money through local taxation to protect frontline services.
“Since Central Bedfordshire Council was set up in 2009, efficiency and value for money have always been a top priority and will continue to be so. We are also asking for residents’ views on an additional savings package of just over £15million which is on top of the £75million we have already saved in the last 5 years.”
Savings measures being proposed include: reviewing contracts and seeking better deals from suppliers; cutting overheads and running costs including making better use of technology to reduce spending and improve online services; generating income by trading council services; and changing the way some council services are run.
To have your say on the council’s spending plans, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/budget2016, or pick up a paper copy of the consultation questionnaire at council offices in Dunstable and Chicksands, and in libraries, leisure centres, children’s centres and customer service centres.
The closing date is Monday, 8 February with councillors then considering all responses before the final budget is approved by full council at a meeting on 25 February.