With cuts to funding from central government and increasing costs of some services the Central Bedfordshire Council is proposing to
- cut its spending by £13.8million through a range of proposals
- increase council tax by 3% specifically to help pay for adult social care services, and
- increase council tax by up to 3% to pay for other services
It is planning to spend £190million on public services, well over half of which will be spent on adult social care services (£76million, 40%) and children services (£38million, 20%) with the rest funding services like roads and transport, refuse collections, libraries and leisure as well as the cost of running the council (£76million).
The amount of money coming in from the government to help fund services is reducing significantly. In 2018/19, the council will receive half the amount of government grant that it was allocated in the previous year and by 2019/20 this grant funding will disappear altogether.
Previously, local councils were given additional money if they did not raise council tax. Now there is an expectation that council tax will be increased, by up to 3%, to help cover the rising costs of delivering services. And a new Adult Social Care Levy (known as a precept) has been introduced by the government which requires local people to pay another 3% towards the increasing costs of care for our older or vulnerable residents.
The application of the Adult Social Care precept (of an increase of up to 3%) would result in a weekly increase of 82 pence in council tax for an average household (Band D).
If approved, this together with the proposed 3% increase in council tax, would result in a total weekly increase of £1.64 for an average household (Band D).
The Council are not shy, and want you to HAVE YOUR SAY on what they decide to do.
The council say they have already saved £120million since 2009.
Councillor Richard Wenham, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: “With councils getting less money from Westminster we need to raise more money through council tax in order to avoid dramatic cuts to our services."
“Savings measures being proposed include: reviewing contracts and seeking better deals from suppliers; reducing the use of agency workers; giving customers the option to make their own contribution to “top-up” the service they receive; generating income by trading council services; and getting involved as soon as possible with children, families or adults who are vulnerable – by working with people early we can help them avoid needing more support in the long term, which saves us money.
“Councillors are also considering investing over £86million in capital projects next year from external and council funding. Projects being proposed across Central Bedfordshire include new school buildings, extra-care schemes, road improvements, rolling out superfast broadband and improving our country parks.”
To have your say on the council’s spending plans, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/budget2018, or pick up a paper copy of the consultation summary and questionnaire at council offices in Dunstable and Chicksands or from a local library.
The closing date is 5pm Monday, 29 January, with councillors then considering all responses before the final budget is approved by Council at a meeting on 22 February.