Average Band D households across Central Bedfordshire are likely to have to find around an extra £100 per year in council tax for 2018-19.
Central Beds Council has launched its budget proposals, which include a 3% rise in the tax bill for its Adult Social Care precept, with another 3% hike contributing towards funding for other services.
The combined 6% equates to an extra £85.28 on CBC’s share of an overall Band D tax bill - with Beds Police looking to potentially add £12 per year, the fire service £1.85, and a possible further increase also to come from local town/parish council precepts.
CBC says despite the move to bring in more tax, they are still looking at needing to make £13.8m in savings in the coming year due to a significant reduction in Government funding.
It is planning to spend £190m on public services, well over half of which will be spent on adult social care services (£76million, 40%) and children services (£38million, 20%), with the rest funding services like roads and transport, refuse collections, libraries and leisure as well as the cost of running the council (£76million).
However, the council says it is looking to deliver these services in the face of continuing financial pressures and increasing demand for care services.
The costs of providing services are rising due to an increasing older population and more vulnerable families within our communities needing support. In 2018/19, the council will receive half the amount of government grant that it was allocated in the previous year and by 2019/20 this grant funding will disappear altogether.
Previously, local councils were given additional money if they did not raise council tax. Now there is an expectation that council tax will be increased, by up to 3%, to help cover the rising costs of delivering services. And a new Adult Social Care Levy (known as a precept) has been introduced by the government which requires local people to pay another 3% towards the increasing costs of care for older or vulnerable residents.
Councillor Richard Wenham, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: “With councils getting less money from Westminster we need to raise more money through council tax in order to avoid dramatic cuts to our services.
“We’re asking for feedback from residents on a proposed 3% increase in council tax, called an Adult Social Care Precept, which is specifically to help pay towards the increasing costs of providing adult social care.
“We are also asking for residents’ views on an additional increase in council tax of up to 3% to help fund the other services we provide including road maintenance, leisure and waste services.
“Residents can also give their views on an additional savings package of £13.8million which is on top of the £120million we have already saved since 2009.
“Savings measures being proposed include: reviewing contracts and seeking better deals from suppliers; reducing the use of agency workers; giving customers the option to make their own contribution to “top-up” the service they receive; generating income by trading council services; and getting involved as soon as possible with children, families or adults who are vulnerable – by working with people early we can help them avoid needing more support in the long term, which saves us money.
“Councillors are also considering investing over £86million in capital projects next year from external and council funding. Projects being proposed across Central Bedfordshire include new school buildings, extra-care schemes, road improvements, rolling out superfast broadband and improving our country parks.”
To have your say on the council’s spending plans, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/budget2018, or pick up a paper copy of the consultation summary and questionnaire at council offices in Dunstable and Chicksands or at libraries.
The closing date is 5pm on Monday, January 29, with councillors then considering all responses before the final budget is approved by Council at a meeting on 22 February.
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