Cheshire East Council is asking residents for views on the council’s budget for the next financial year – an increase of 2.9%.
Increased demand for vital services is seeing the council propose an annual council tax increase of 1.99 per cent for the next four years. As well as this, the government are expecting councils to increase council tax by a further 1 per cent to contribute to adult social care, taking it to an annual 2.99 per cent increase.
The council delivers many day-to-day services – including providing vital support to children and adults who need help, emptying the bins and managing the highways. It also delivers a range of projects, investing in the future of the borough. These projects include becoming carbon neutral by 2025, building new schools and roads, information and digital technology projects and regenerating our town centres. The total value of these projects over the next four years alone, is almost £400million.
Set against a backdrop of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, increasing demand for vital services, the need for local action to combat climate change, and rising costs – the council’s budget consultation sets out service proposals and financial plans for the period from 1 April 2022 through to 31 March 2023.
The proposals show a balanced four-year budget to deliver the council’s corporate plan priorities. It also outlines significant financial challenges that the council must tackle over the next year, including rapidly rising demand and costs for adult social care and those that are a result of the ongoing pandemic.
The council is responsible for managing a yearly spend of around £700million with an annual net revenue budget of approximately £321million, which is equal to around £16 per week for every resident living in the borough. The budget is funded from the council taxes paid by households and businesses, and some general government grants.
Councillor Amanda Stott, Cheshire East Council chair for the sub-finance committee, said: “The financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been huge. The council, like every other local authority, is having to deal with unprecedented financial pressures due to increasing demand particularly in social care and our statutory duties to protect our most vulnerable residents.
“Council tax only raises around one third of the money needed to fund the hundreds of local services we provide across Cheshire East.
“Council tax thresholds will remain at similar levels to recent years, with the increases remaining at 1.99 per cent. There is also an expectation from government that some demand growth in adult social care will be funded by a further annual precept of 1 per cent.
“Final confirmation of the threshold limits will be announced by government in December but for the purpose of presenting these budget estimates we have increased council tax in each year by 2.99 per cent to manage ongoing demand for services.
“The council wants to listen to all feedback on this consultation before coming to any final recommendation about how best to balance the funding we receive from government and locally raised income, with the rising demand for the services we deliver.
“Our draft budget prioritises critical frontline services and economic investment and, our ongoing recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. We will continue to redesign and transform some services to ensure maximum efficiency while protecting the most vulnerable, supporting our businesses and growing our local economy through this time of unprecedented financial challenge.
“I would strongly urge everyone to play their part, now more than ever before. We need to hear your views on our draft budget proposals, so we get an understanding of the priorities and aspirations for our services and local community.”
The council is inviting opinions and views from residents, businesses, councillors, staff, town and parish councils, local community groups and other stakeholders. The feedback received will be used to inform the budget setting process.
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