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Copeland Council agrees budget

Elected Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie

[C]OPELAND Borough Council has unanimously agreed its budget for 2018/19.

Councillors voted last night (Tuesday) to accept Mayor Mike Starkie’s proposed budget for the next financial year, which includes over £2 million investment in services.

Mr Starkie said: “I am delighted that our councillors voted unanimously to accept my budget proposals, and I’d like to publicly thank them for their support.

“I believe that the budget is one of growth and regeneration that will benefit every corner of the borough. It not only retains our frontline services, but improves them, and it’s a credit to everyone at Copeland that we find ourselves in this position.

“The fact that the budget went through our internal Overview and Scrutiny process without a single recommendation for change, and then was subsequently voted through by all 41 councillors in attendance last night, bears testament to this.”

Included in the £8.3 million budget is:

  • Over £2 million investment in recycling, IT and bereavement services, including the building of a small additional chapel at Distington Hall crematorium for more intimate services
  • A freeze on car park charges across the borough, and entry fees into The Beacon Museum
  • A new tourist information facility, for which £75,000 has been earmarked
  • A £150,000 extension of the Pride of Place regeneration scheme (over three years) to include environmental improvements
  • £250,000 investment in projects tackling social issues including isolation, inclusion and domestic violence

Mr Starkie added: “This progressive budget is bucking the national trend. A national survey shows that 73 per cent of councils are planning to raise their council tax by 2.5 per cent or more. We will only raise Copeland’s share of council tax by 1.95 per cent, much lower than the three per cent we are permitted to and, as the survey shows, much less than the majority of councils elsewhere.

“The survey also reveals that 68 per cent of councils are planning to dip into their reserves to balance the budget for 2018/19. Thanks to the excellent recent financial management at Copeland, we will not use any reserves for next year’s budget.”

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