South Ribble Council's budget overhaul - which includes a 1.99% rates rise - is put out for public scrutiny
Leaders of South Ribble Council want to increase it’s part of the Council Tax charge by 1.99 per cent.
A draft budget is to be taken to Full Council on February 26 for final approval following a public consultation. If approved, the changes mean the borough council’s charges for a Band D property will be £223.24 per year, as opposed to £218.88 currently, an increase of £4.36 a year, or 8p per week.
Chiefs said the increase will allow the Council to continue to deliver “first-class service to residents in the wake of more possible Government cuts to funding.”
But they say the budget will mean more than half of residents will see their overall tax reduced, as charges for the green bin collection have been reduced by £5 a year, and around 2,000 households will be taken out of Council Tax altogether following the adoption of the new Council Tax Support Scheme.
Councillor Matthew Tomlinson said: “Over the coming year, not only will we be investing in the vital services and infrastructure that our residents use but we will actually be reducing the tax burden for more than half of the people of South Ribble.”
Schemes identified in a new five-year Corporate Plan include:
- Creating an Extra Care scheme and to manage stock of affordable housing;
- Green space improvements;
- Improvements to Worden Hall and local leisure centres;
- New youth initiatives, including a Youth Council
- Improvements to resident’s health and wellbeing through working to tackle crime and disorder and;
- Various climate change initiatives, such as planting 110,000 trees, adopting a no-single use plastic policy and investing in eco and electric vehicles.
The council year-on-year has seen reductions in Central Government Funding. Since 2007, the total reduction of funding (the Central Government Grant) is £4.8m.
A budget report to the cabinet's scrutiny committee states that if accepted, the budget for 2020/21 will be balanced, but deficits of £548,000 could be seen in 2023/24.
It says this shortfall would need to be funded from general reserves unless additional income or savings can be made, and identifies the situation as "clearly not sustainable in the longer-term".
Ideas to generate additional income of realise savings include extending the shared services already in place with Chorley Council, rent reviews for the council's investment property and generating income from Worden Hall, by using it for both community and commercial use.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council said: “While the 2020/21 budget has been fully costed for, we can’t predict the future. The uncertainty surrounding funding levels in years to come presents great challenge and risk to the council for its medium-term financial planning.
“SRBC and other councils across the North will be reliant on Government investment and our current level of service can only be sustained if they commit to their promise.
“We’re going to do our best to keep on top of Central Government though lobbying with our fellow councils to ensure we get the best possible deal for our residents and
communities moving forward.”
The new budget is now open for consultation and all residents and businesses are invited to share their views.
The consultation is open until midday on February 26.