Council's Executive Propose £17m Savings And No Council Tax Increase

Central Bedfordshire Council's Executive Propose Budget

Conservative-run Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive has this week considered its medium term budget plan, and specific proposals for 2014/15.

Among the savings will be some £800,000 the Government had allocated to Town and Parish Councils in Bedfordshire via The Local Government Finance Settlement received by Central Bedfordshire Council. However, it is not ring-fenced, and Conservative
councillors at CBC have already voted not to pass the money down, but to retain it for that
Council’s purposes. Houghton Regis Town Council last year received £90,000 through this grant and that will now be lost.

The plan, which will be considered by the full Council later this month, recommends investment of more than £186m next year, in services as diverse as fostering and adoption,  libraries, leisure,  roads maintenance, social care and waste management.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Council does not intend to increase the Council Tax charges it makes, which will mean an average weekly charge of £25 per household. *

The Council, in common with all local authorities, is facing significant reductions in its grant funding from central government and in order to balance the budget, the plan includes savings amounting to £17m.

In headline terms, the Council will be investing:

-          £63m on Adult Social Care, Health and Housing Services (including residential and home care for elderly residents or those with disabilities)

-          £45m on Services for Children (including fostering, adoption, children’s centres and protecting those who are vulnerable and in need)

-          £34m on Community Services (including waste, leisure and highways).

Other front line services (including planning, regeneration, countryside access and public health) together with running costs, account for the rest of the authority’s spending.

Savings are to be made from re-negotiated contracts, income generation, use of technology and transforming how we deliver services.

The Executive received feedback from the consultation on the draft budget.  The consultation had involved members of the  public, stakeholder groups and the overview and scrutiny committees within the Council.

James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, said;

“Delivering value for money to our local residents has been a priority for us since the council was created in 2009.  We’ve achieved a great deal since then, having taken some £60m off our annual running costs.  But times remain tough for our residents.

“In our budget consultation, 70% of respondents felt that we should continue to freeze Council Tax and avoid reductions to current services as much as possible.  And that is exactly what we intend to do” he added.

In addition to spending on services, the Council is also investing in its physical assets, including its roads and leisure services.

Full Council will be asked to approve the budget at its meeting on 20th February 2014.