‘Budget for future generations’ revealed
Published: Monday, 13th November 2017
Early plans have been revealed for a ‘budget for future generations’ to benefit local people by protecting services and boosting investment in the borough’s growth.
Initial recommendations on overall spending, capital investment and council tax levels are detailed in the Budget Preparation 2018-19 report ahead of a series of scrutiny meetings and the Royal Borough’s cabinet on Thursday 23 November 2017.
This is the start of a decision making process which will culminate in February 2018 with full council being asked to agree the final budget including council tax levels.
Figures in the proposed budget may change as the local government settlement becomes clear in the coming weeks.
Cllr MJ Saunders, cabinet member for finance, said: “The financial climate in local government remains tough and the demands of local residents, young and old, on the council’s services have increased. But whereas many councils are cutting services, the Royal Borough will be able to protect and enhance its offer to local people.
“This is thanks to sound financial management and a commitment to delivering differently - which the recent Local Government Association’s peer review recognised as a strength of the council.
“We have taken responsible decisions on costs and savings to ensure prudent management of public money and to balance the needs of our residents, council tax payers and staff.”
Central to the budget will be decisions on investing in the necessary roads, transport links, schools and other services needed to support the council’s vision to build a borough for everyone.
Headlines from the budget proposals include:
• A likely council tax increase of 1.95% equivalent to an extra £17.85 per year on the average council tax bill.
• An extra 3% social care levy agreed with central government to help pay for adult social care, which has come under increasing pressure over the last few years.
• More than £54 million on capital projects for 2018/19 that will create the additional infrastructure to enable the borough to grow and thrive.
• An affordable level of additional funding to meet the pension obligations for council employees, using money set aside through careful financial management.
• A commitment to increase the council’s spending on wages by circa 2.5% to cover award, reward and promotion.
Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the council, said: “This will be a budget that delivers now for local people and builds a borough for future generations.
“It will support the council’s work to create a borough for everyone, where local people can enjoy living, working and nurturing their futures and their family.
“The council and the borough are in a strong place and have a very positive future.
“Our innovative approach to development, as recognised by the Local Government Association’s peer review, means that by 2026 we will have an extra £346 million to reinvest in good services for local people, and will mean the council becomes debt free.”
The first council meeting to discuss the draft recommendations will be adult services and health overview and scrutiny panel on Tuesday 14 November.