Residents and businesses can have their say on Central Bedfordshire Council’s draft budget which includes proposals for spending, savings and Council Tax in 2022/23.
The budget for council activities and staff, proposes investment of some £468million on its services and operations. This is known as the revenue budget – most of which is funded by Council Tax and business rates. A large proportion of this budget it spent on care services for adults and children who are frail, disabled or vulnerable and need protection.
This budget also funds our core services that everyone has access to, such as refuse and recycling, roads, leisure, libraries, parks and countryside services.
Next year the council proposes to make specific investments from this revenue budget to meet pressures in providing care for more older people and adults with disabilities, providing more support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and children who need our protection.
Alongside the revenue budget, the council plans to invest in infrastructure and facilities from its capital budget. This budget is not funded by Council Tax but through borrowing and selling assets. The council plans to spend £240million on roads, care homes, leisure provision and schools (including around £9million on specialist school places for SEND).
Funding for the council comes from a range of sources, with Council Tax and Business Rates being particularly important for the revenue budget. Next year the council proposes to increase Council Tax by 1.95%. This is 1% specifically for adult social care and 0.95% for other services.
Cllr David Shelvey, Executive Member for Corporate Resources at the council explained: “The last year has continued to be really tough, with the impact of the pandemic being felt everywhere. Our proposals have really taken that into account.
“Part of prioritising our budget involves us reducing our costs to be more efficient. We have planned to reduce our costs by £9.6million next year, by working with vulnerable people earlier, modernising care services, improving online access and internal systems and processes to reduce our operating costs.”
“Despite these efficiency measures, there are clear pressures that we need to consider – we need to spend more on care and support for older adults, those with disabilities and children with SEND.”
“We never take a decision to raise Council Tax lightly or without huge debate. We’re acutely aware of the other increasing costs of living that our residents will be paying such as the cost of energy, inflation and National Insurance. With this in mind, we have kept the Council Tax increase as low as possible.”
A consultation on the budget is now live and will remain open until 31 January 2022. Everyone is encouraged to have their say by completing our online survey at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/budget2022
For those who would prefer to fill in a paper copy of the survey, please call the Council on 0300 300 8000.