Friday, 6 December 2013
Make it count - council budget consultation launches
Thanet District Council has seen its formula grant from central government reduced by 36 per cent over the past three years and significant further cuts are anticipated in coming years, including a like-for-like reduction of 18 per cent in 2014/15.
The council has already made savings of nearly £5m between 2011/12 and 2013/14, while making no increase in its council tax, but further savings of £1.8m are now required to balance the 2014/15 budget and it is increasingly difficult to find these without impacting on frontline services.
Thanet District Council collects council tax on behalf of other authorities. Its share is only 14% of the overall bill. The rest is split between Kent County Council (71%), The Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent (10%), Kent Fire and Rescue Service (5%), and the town and parish councils or charter trustees.
To help prioritise resources, the council is urging residents to take part in the latest budget consultation to ensure that the limited funds available are used on the services which matter the most to local people. This consultation launches on Tuesday 3 December.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Rick Everitt, said: “The further cuts to the council’s formula grant are going to make it increasingly difficult to continue to provide the wide range of services that we currently offer, but we are doing all that we can to protect our residents from these budgetary challenges, including freezing council tax since 2010.
He added: “The more information we have from residents about their priorities, the better we can align our decision making, so it’s important as many local people as possible give us their views as part of our budget consultation.”
As budget planning is already underway, the illustrative figures provided by DCLG have been used to model the budget for next year. Final figures are expected in December and will be fed into the final budget proposals for 2014/15, which will be debated at Full Council in February 2014.
Cabinet will make a recommendation to council about next year’s council tax at its meeting in January.
From Tuesday 3 December the council is asking for residents’ views on their priority services. Visit www.thanet.gov.uk/budget to take part.