Have your say on Allerdale Borough Council’s budget for next year, and its priorities until 2023.
The council is currently consulting on its budget proposals for 2019/20. The Council devises a Council Plan every four years and the consultation also includes draft proposals for the policy areas it will focus on between 2019 and 2023.
The council’s annual budget is around £15m. Since 2013/14 the council has achieved savings of £7.5m through cuts to staffing and management costs, and making services and processes more efficient. This has been achieved whilst managing to maintain record-high satisfaction ratings according to the council’s independent survey of residents. In the most recent survey, carried out in 2018, 71% of residents said they were satisfied with services provided by the council.
However, government cuts mean the council faces a further squeeze on its finances in coming years. The council received £652k in grants from central government to cover the cost of services this year. This is predicted to fall to £196k in 2019/20 and cease altogether in 2020/21. In 2013/14 this revenue support grant stood at £4.8m.
Therefore, the council is predicting to need to save a further £2.7m over the next three years, in addition to saving approximately £1.2m in the current year.
To meet this challenge the council is developing a plan to continue making its services more efficient and sustainable in the longer-term though its Transformation and Commercialisation, and Regeneration and Commercial Investment programmes.
Just under 10% of the average council tax bill goes towards services provided by Allerdale Borough Council. For 2019/20 it is proposing an increase in its proportion of council tax by £5 a year for a band D property (with proportionate rises for other bands). This equates to a rise of 2.98% or just under 9p a week for a band D property. This rise is in line with inflation. The recent survey of residents showed that 57% of those who responded favoured increasing council tax if it meant the services that were important to them were protected.
The council is also proposing to increase its fees and charges, in line with inflation, by 3%.
The consultation is also asking for opinion on the draft Council Plan which sets out the council’s priorities for the next four years and well as its plan for tackling the financial challenges it faces whilst maintaining high quality services. The draft plan has been devised after considering evidence from local communities and feedback from the survey of residents.
The draft plan has three key priority areas. These are:
- Economic opportunity and growth to ensure local businesses thrive and grow and new businesses are attracted to the area
- Stronger and healthier communities to ensure local residents are encouraged to lead active and healthy lifestyles, and our communities are safe places
- Quality places to live to ensure local towns and villages are attractive and welcoming places, with the right homes in the right place to meet the needs of local communities, and well-planned growth
There is a commitment to continue its transformation programme, so that the council makes best use of the resources available to provide improvements to the area and quality services to its residents. The plan also includes a commitment to deliver on the Maryport redevelopment scheme, as well as initiatives to use technology to improve its service to customers. In the past year the council has rolled out a new website with a full range to self-service forms.
Alan Smith, Leader of the Council, said: “We have faced huge financial challenges in recent years and these are set to continue. However, through prudent and careful planning, and investment in key services to make them more effective and efficient we have not only managed to meet these challenges, but continue the excellent services which our local residents rightly expect to receive. I’d encourage everyone to take a look at our proposals for the coming years, and have their say.”
For more details on the consultation and to have your say online go to: www.allerdale.gov.uk/consultation and follow the links to the budget and priorities consultation. The closing date for responses in 17 January 2019.
Proposed council tax increases by band:
|Council Tax band||2018/19 Annual charge||£5 increase on band D property||£5 increase on band D property|
|2019/20 proposed annual charge||Percentage increase|
|£||£ per year||per week||£||%|
Where your money goes: average (band D) Council tax bill for 2018/19
Cumbria County Council: £1332.13
Police and Crime Commissioner: £232.74
Allerdale Borough Council: £167.99
Town/parish council: £66.67