Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Now is your chance to have a say on how your Council Tax is spent

Wednesday, 6 December 2023

We're under huge financial pressure and are having to make some difficult decisions about increasing Council Tax and changing some services. Your opinion is important.

There have been substantial increases in costs for important services such as educational transport, provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and adult social care. Meanwhile, inflation has been running at nearly 10% for a whole year. 

Faced with a big gap between the council’s income, and the cost of services, the council is increasing its efforts to squeeze out every penny of savings by being more efficient. It is also proposing Council Tax will go up by 5% to provide the funding for core services. But spending will need to be cut further and the budget includes proposals to change some services.

However, even with these measures, the gap between income and proposed spend still sits at £1.9 million. This gap must be filled by the end of February and the council is asking you what you think of the current proposals, and further options including charging for collecting garden waste and reducing bus subsidies.

Councillor Adam Zerny, Leader of the Council, said:

When we became the new administration in May, we knew the budget would be tough – last year Council Tax was not increased, and this decision effectively reduced the available income to fund services by up to £9.5 million this year and every year going forward. This decision, which was made by the previous council, combined with high inflation and increasing costs of some of our most important services like adult social care and children’s services, means we need to make some tough decisions.

I am acutely aware of the other increasing costs of living residents will be paying and the decision to increase Council Tax is not something that is taken lightly or without careful consideration. Rightly, we have been very clear that the council must also make substantial cuts to its internal costs. Without this, it would not be possible to protect or improve vital services.

One thing we have promised residents is that we will listen. That’s what this consultation is all about. We’ve set out some real choices to meet the shortfall in the budget and we want your opinion before big decisions are made.

Councillor Baker, our Executive Member for Finance, said:

We have brought rigorous financial discipline to managing the council’s budget to deal with the significant pressures facing the council. We don't want to put up Council Tax or cut services, but we have no choice. If we make some tough choices now, the financial health of the council should improve over the next few years, protecting vital services that residents rely on.

The budget gap of £1.9 million must be filled by the end of February and this consultation is your chance to tell us how you want it done.

Find out more and have your say.