The budget challenge
In the next financial year (from April 2017 to March 2018) Central Bedfordshire Council is planning to spend around £189million on public services across our area.
These include the high profile services that are available for everyone, such as recycling and refuse collection, maintenance of roads and pavements, libraries and leisure.
We will also be investing in specialist and equally vital services which protect vulnerable adults and children, care for those with special needs and offer help for people to live independently for as long as possible.
This infographic shows how we planned to spend this money on services in 2016/17.
The budget challenge
Making the investments in local services that we need costs a lot of money.
Much of the funding (£143million) comes from Central Bedfordshire residents through Council Tax. The council also receives grant funding from Central Government (£10.6million, down from £49million in 2009).
When Central Bedfordshire Council was created, it committed to deliver value for money to local people and until spring 2016 the council hadn't increased Council Tax for many years.
But the government has now changed the arrangements for funding council services. It has cut grant funding. Next year, the council will receive less than half the amount of grant that it was allocated this year and by 2019/20 this grant funding will disappear altogether.
Until last year, local councils were given additional money if they did not raise Council Tax. Now there is an expectation that Council Tax will be increased 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 towards the increasing costs of care for our older or vulnerable residents.
This infographic shows how funding for council services is changing.
So, to provide the services we need and to keep council tax increases as low as possible, the council has a plan to:
- continue to find ways to reduce spending through a range of saving measures
- apply the Adult Social Care precept of an increase in Council Tax of up to 3% to contribute towards funding for care services
- increase Council Tax by 1.75% to contribute towards funding of other services
Taken together these measures would allow the council to cover the gap in funding it faces.
You can read more about each of these proposals in the following pages.