2019/20 Budget set to maintain a path of investment as financial pressures continue

It costs around £19 million per year to deliver the council's services

Date issued: 29 January 2019

Colchester Borough Council’s portion of the Council Tax could rise for only the third time since 2010, if the 2019/20 Budget is approved by Cabinet members when they meet on 30 January.

A proposal to set the council’s portion of the Council Tax rate for 2019/20 at £190.62 for a Band D property would, if agreed by Full Council on 20 February, represent an increase of £5.49 (2.97%) from the current rate. The council will continue to offer relief to residents most in need, through its Local Council Tax Support scheme.

It costs around £19 million per year to deliver the services residents, businesses and visitors depend and rely on. Traditionally, much of this money has come from the Government. In 2009/2010, the council received £10.7 million in core Government grant. However, by 2018/2019, this had reduced to £275,000 and in the next financial year the council will receive no Revenue Support Grant at all.

Despite the reductions in Government funding next year, the 2019/20 Budget provides almost £2.4m investment from the New Homes Bonus (NHB) for spending priorities. These include: the Northern Gateway Sports scheme; investment in the Revolving Investment Fund (RIF); supporting housing, and further support to community priorities such as policing and safety, improving our highways, cleaner streets, Local Plan work and Rural Projects (including Colchester Orbital). This investment is in addition to the £1.95m already allocated as part of the Better Colchester campaign.

To balance the books, the budget includes £1.5m of savings and additional income, most of which comes through steps to improve efficiency and ways of working.

Cllr David King, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “There is no doubt that councils are facing some very difficult and serious financial pressures because of reduced government funding. Nevertheless, we are managing these fiscal pressures well and getting the balance right.

“This is a prudent budget. It continues to reflect our commitment to regeneration and improvement. It will allow us to continue to provide high quality services and to invest in long-term projects such as the Northern Gateway. But it also keeps money back in reserves and balances, to ensure we can meet problems as they arise. And it will allow us to meet the concerns and needs of residents now and continue to deliver award-winning services.

“Residents can be assured the council remains fully committed to the prudent management of resources and assets. Over many years, we have kept increases as small as we could, protecting services despite central government cuts. We will continue to deliver on our promise to protect vital services whilst we also increase investment, create more growth and deliver a Better Colchester.”

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