Have your say on council plans for spending, efficiencies and council tax
Friday, 3 January 2020
Central Bedfordshire residents are urged to have their say on council budget plans for the next financial year, this includes proposals for spending, efficiencies and council tax.
The council are proposing to invest £142million next year on a range of building and infrastructure initiatives such as road maintenance, new school places, new care homes and new integrated health and care hubs where social care and health services are provided in one building providing more convenience for residents.
Alongside this significant investment the council is planning to spend £212million on services. This includes services like recycling and waste collection, public transport, leisure, libraries as well as vital services to protect and support vulnerable children and adults.
Currently, around two-thirds of the council’s budget is spent on services for children and vulnerable adults. And demand for these services is rising, putting real pressure on the budget.
To help with this budget challenge the council is continuing its focus on efficiency with proposals for a further £13.6million of efficiencies next year.
While these efficiency measures will help meet the increased demand for services, they aren’t enough. Therefore the council is proposing to apply the Adult Social Care Precept of a 2% increase in council tax specifically to fund care services (this would work out as a 58 pence per week increase for an average (Band D) household) and increase council tax by 1.95% to contribute towards funding other services (this would work out as a 56 pence per week increase for an average (Band D) household).
Councillor Richard Wenham, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said:
It’s now ten years since we were created as a new council. Over the past decade two of our driving ambitions have been providing value for money to local residents and good quality services. Since we were created in 2009, we’ve delivered £150million of efficiencies through prudent financial management and thinking differently about how we work. Unlike many other councils we’ve not only kept our frontline services like leisure centres and libraries running but we’ve also invested in them.
While we will continue to focus on maximising our efficiency, we have to recognise the increasing demand on some of our most vital services; Adult Social Care. Meeting this demand means we have to make some tough decisions about what we will fund and how we use council tax to do so. We’re proud of our track record in not raising council tax for a number of years, but the loss of central Government funding for our services means we can’t continue to protect and invest in services without asking residents to help to pay for them through council tax.
Have your say on our website or pick up a paper copy of the consultation summary and questionnaire at council offices in Dunstable and Chicksands or one of our libraries.
The closing date is 5pm, 30 January 2020.
Councillors then consider all responses before the final budget is approved by Council at a meeting on 20 February 2020.