Bedford Borough Council has published the proposed 2022/23 Budget that outlines plans to keep Council Tax rises below inflation, improve efficiency at Borough Hall to prevent cuts to frontline services and includes major investments to support residents and protect the environment.
Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Michael Headley said "This Budget ensures that we can continue to provide quality services and support for residents when they need it most. It ensures we are taking real action to meet our zero carbon target and tackle the climate emergency. And it ensures our Borough continues to improve and prosper, so that it remains a brilliant place to live and work."
The Mayor's budget keeps the rise in Council Tax to a lower rate than inflation. The core Council Tax rise is 1.99%, but the government's decision to choose Council Tax to fund adult social care will add on another 2% in Adult Social Care Precept. This is less than the maximum percentage the government have allowed for. Last year's increased collection of Council Tax has meant that there is an extra £3.5 million, which has meant that the Council is able to keep this year's Council Tax bills as low as possible.
Councillor Headley continued "This Budget has been put together in the shadow of reduced government funding over recent years, the increased needs of the most vulnerable such as those needing adult social care and the impact of the pandemic. The main government grant we receive has been slashed from £30 million in 2015, to now just £6 million. Instead of properly funding local government, the Conservatives are choosing to push more and more of the costs onto local taxpayers. ."
Despite the lack of government support, Bedford Borough Council will continue to provide vital frontline services. The Council will work ever more efficiently and make further savings of £4.5 million to prevent cuts to frontline services.
The Budget also sets out major investment to help tackle climate change, support residents in their time of need, and improve the Borough as a place to live and work:
Tackling Climate Change
Improving the Borough
Mayor Dave Hodgson said "This is a Budget that puts the needs of residents first. I am pleased that we have been able to make the savings necessary so that we can continue to provide quality frontline services and protect and enhance our environment."