Budget 2024-2025

Overview of the council’s budget

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Listening to your views and setting the council’s budget

The Council is under huge financial pressure due to substantial increases in costs, particularly in Children’s Services and Adult Social Care. Meanwhile, inflation has been running at nearly 10 per cent for a whole year.  

Faced with a big gap between the council’s income, and the cost of services, the council had to make some difficult decisions so it can continue to provide the vital services to support the most vulnerable. Making such difficult decisions now will set the council on a more even keel, financially-speaking, for the years to come.

The council consulted residents on proposals and over 2,300 residents gave their feedback. You can read the consultation results on our website.

Residents were supportive of the proposals to improve efficiency, change some services and use some council reserves to bridge the funding gap. There were mixed views about increasing Council Tax.

Residents were also asked about some specific options; reducing bus subsides, charging for garden waste, using more financial reserves or something else to meet the funding gap.  Whilst there was strong support for using more reserves, this is an unstainable approach in the long term, so some savings do need to be made now. Of the proposals for additional savings, the strongest support from the public was for charging for garden waste.

The council considered residents’ views and agreed a budget where most of the funding gap is plugged by a raft of efficiencies that reduce running costs and uses some of the council’s reserves.

The budget retains bus subsidies which more residents want to see protected but includes charging for collecting garden waste which received stronger support from residents. There are also plans to introduce kerbside glass collection in 2025/26 alongside the recently introduced scheme to collect coffee pods – something few councils do.

Many other local councils already charge for garden waste collection. For example, Huntingdonshire charge £50/year, South Cambs charge £45/year and North Herts charge £49/year. Residents who were supportive of charging for garden waste said it was unfair on those who live in flats or do not have gardens are subsiding those with gardens.

Some residents were worried about fly tipping but this has not been an issue in other local authorities as a result of the introduction of a charge.

Charging a similar sum for garden waste collection would provide the council with an estimated extra £2million a year which can help to offset rising costs in caring for the vulnerable.

Raising Council Tax by 5 per cent is also included in the budget to avoid making further significant cuts to services.