SRBC Cabinet set to approve draft 2020/21 budget which will mean more than half of residents see their overall tax reduced
The draft budget is set to be approved at the South Ribble Borough Council Cabinet meeting on 12th February and will be taken to Full Council on 26th February for final approval following a public consultation.
The draft budget can be found here.
Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets said, “I’m delighted to bring this draft budget forward for Cabinet and Council decision.
“This is the first budget to be delivered by the new administration that took control of the Council at the last elections. 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.”
“This is what we as a Labour party promised right at the start, and in line with our agreement with the Liberal Democrat group, we will deliver. This budget is ambitious but fully costed for, and I’m looking forward to hearing residents’ views following a full public consultation.”
Reducing the tax burden for local residents
The proposed increase for each Council Tax band this year is 1.99%. This is an increase of less than £5 per annum or 8p a week (based on Band D).
The Council Tax will go up to allow the Council to continue to deliver first-class service to residents in the wake of more possible Government cuts to funding.
Councillor Tomlinson continues, “The increase for the SRBC portion of the Council Tax could be higher, but this administration has prioritised reducing the tax burden for local residents.
“The number of households who currently pay Council Tax is 49,000 and we anticipate that more than half (around 27,000) of those households will see their overall tax reduced in the year 2020/21.
“Around 24,800 households will benefit from the £5 reduction in the Garden Waste Collection Scheme (from £30 to £25) and around 2,000 households will be taken out of Council Tax altogether following the adoption of the new Council Tax Support Scheme.”
The new Council Tax Support Scheme will see the lowest income households in South Ribble no longer have to pay a minimum council tax contribution.
Currently, at least £3.50 per week is deducted from the incomes of certain benefit claimants but that will now change. From the next financial year, this £3.50 charge will be scrapped.
Investing in the infrastructure and services that affect our residents and communities
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council said, “What an exciting year ahead for South Ribble. In May we came into administration of this Council, determined to change the culture of under investment in our infrastructure, facilities and our communities.
“Not only have we made the commitment to invest, we will actively reduce the tax burden for our residents and those most vulnerable.
“Our goal is to do the very best for our residents and to spend public money wisely. The investments we are making this year reflected in the fully costed budget, will allow us to meet our vision of a happier and healthier community flourishing in a safer and fairer borough.”
In September 2019, the council launched its new Corporate Plan. This is the plan of action the council will take over the next four years to serve our residents and to invest in our communities.
The main areas of the new Corporate Plan include:
- Health, Wellbeing and Safety;
- Excellence, Investment and Financial Sustainability;
- Our People and Communities;
- Place, Homes and Environment.
Each area has a long list of plans and projects to be delivered over the next four years.
This year (2020/21), the council has plans to fund, deliver and invest in several projects set to transform the services we offer to residents and the communities we serve.
- Affordable Housing – the council to create and manage new Extra Care scheme and to manage stock of affordable housing;
- Green Space improvements including upgrades to parks and playgrounds;
- Local Community Asset investment and improvements including Worden Hall and local leisure centres;
- Increased and enhanced community involvement including youth initiatives;
- Improvements to resident’s health and wellbeing through working to tackle crime and disorder and;
- Various climate change initiatives – working towards our aim of being Carbon Neutral by 2030. This includes planting 110,000 trees, adopting a no single- use plastic policy and investing in eco and electric vehicles for our fleet.
In order to make this year’s projects happen and to work effectively, the council will also invest in additional resources to be recruited for the council. Examples of this are officers to manage the climate change initiative and community engagement officers to deliver the enhanced customer involvement aims.
Understanding what the future holds
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.
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.”
Have your say on the new proposed budget
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 26th February.