Central Bedfordshire Council Recommends New Budget

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive is recommending a budget which will see increased investment in services and important infrastructure projects.

In the recent Budget 2020 consultation, residents were asked for feedback on proposals to investment, efficiency proposals for £13.6million and increasing council tax. The meeting was broadcast live from the Council's Webcast Web Page where a recording will be available later.

After carefully considering the feedback from the budget consultation, the Executive agreed to recommend investing £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 continuing to fund everyday services such as 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. This builds on the £150million the council has already saved through efficiency measures since it was created in 2009.

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 and increase council tax by 1.95% to contribute towards funding other services.

In recommending the budget at Executive today, Cllr Richard Wenham, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Resources said: “Over the past decade two of our driving ambitions have been providing value for money to local residents and good quality services.

“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 pay for them through council tax.

“The consultation showed that most people were prepared to contribute more through their council tax to ensure frontline services continue and that we are also able to invest in services for the future too.”

The final budget will be considered at the Council meeting on 20 February 2020.

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