[A]llerdale Borough Council is encouraging everyone to have their say on proposed changes to its budget for next year.
In 2017/18 the Council’s budget amounted to £14.6m. Less than 20% of this comes from government grants, which have reduced from £4.8m in 2013/14 to just over £1m in 2017/18 and are expected to disappear completely over the next few years. As a result, the Council is facing a funding gap of £3m over the next three years in addition to £1m already identified for next year.
To meet this challenge the Council has developed a four-year self-sufficiency plan which reaches its final year in 2018/19. This plan seeks to boost economic growth, make our services more efficient, make savings and generate more income.
About 10% of the average Council Tax bill pays for services provided by Allerdale Borough Council and it accounts for 35% of the authority’s income. The Council can increase the amount for a Band D property by £5 a year (with proportionate increases for properties in other bands) or 2% – whichever is the higher. The Council is therefore proposing to increase Council Tax by £5 a year for a band D property (or 10p a week) which would mean a proportionate increase of £3.33 for a band A property (or just 6p a week). This equates to a 3.1% rise for Allerdale Borough Council’s share of the Council Tax bill – a figure in line with the current rate of inflation.
The Council is also seeking views on whether it should increase the Council Tax premium on empty homes from 50% to 100% to encourage owners of these properties to bring them back into use.
To keep up with inflation the Council is also proposing to increase its fees and charges by 3%.
Barbara Cannon, Executive Member with responsibility for Corporate Resources, said: “I encourage everyone to have their say on our proposals. We’ve done a good job managing our budgets over recent years in the face of government cuts and we remain determined to continue to meet our commitments to our local communities and help our most vulnerable residents. However, with further cuts to our grants, this is becoming harder but we’re confident that with careful planning, making efficiency savings and boosting economic growth, we will be able to achieve this whilst keeping any increases to Council Tax and our fees and charges to a minimum.”
Responses to the consultation can be made via the Council’s website: www.allerdale.gov.uk/consultation
Hard copies are also available at the Council’s offices in Workington, Cockermouth, Maryport, Keswick and Wigton.
The deadline for responses in 19 January 2018.