CBC Investment and Services 2020/21 - Have your say

Central Bedfordshire residents are urged to have their say on their council's budget plans for 2020/2021, and this includes proposals for spending, efficiencies and council tax.

The council is proposing to invest £142million next year on a range of building and infrastructure initiatives. This includes road maintenance, new school places, new care homes and new integrated health and care hubs. Providing social care and health services in one building is thought to be more convenient for residents.

The council is planning to spend £212m 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. As demand for these services is rising it puts real pressure on the budget.  
Despite these budgetary challenges, the council is expected to focus on efficiency with proposals for a further £13.6m of efficiencies next year.

These efficiency measures will help to meet the increased demand for services, but they will not be 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 58p per week increase for a Band D household). Additionally, it proposes to increase general council tax by 1.95% to contribute towards funding other services (this would work out as a 56p per week increase for a 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 £150m 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.”

To have your say on the council’s spending plans, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/budget2020, or pick up a paper copy of the consultation summary and questionnaire at council offices in Dunstable and Chicksands or one of  CBC's 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.

Source:Cbc with tweaks.

If you have news for Houghton Regis, please send it in