Released on 10 January 2018 Press Release
Stratford-on-Avon District Council is now entering the budget setting phase and a great deal of work has gone into reviewing the finances for the year to come.
This year Central Government, within their spending calculation assumed that Council Tax would increase by £5, which equates to a 3.7% increase. However, The District Council's Cabinet will be recommending an increase of just 1%, much less than the recommended amount and a third of the rate of inflation (CPI of 3%).
That equates to an increase of £1.36 on a Band D property (less than 3p per week).
Stratford-on-Avon District Council has been able to maintain a relatively low level of Council Tax as a result of years of prudent financial management, whilst enabling reserves to be built up, which are now being put to good use in 2018 to maintain that low level of tax.
The small increase has been identified to help fund the following:
The need for action over Affordable Homes in the District through exploration of an Affordable Homes Housing Company.
Preventing homelessness through implementation of the Homelessness Act 2017 including additional capacity for the Citizens Advice Bureau, which prevented 69 families from becoming homeless in 2017.
Temporary Housing for residents who are deemed homeless. The introduction of Universal Credit made the process of housing families more onerous that under the Housing Benefit regime and so more finance has been made available to ensure families have temporary housing when it is needed.
Cllr Chris Saint, Leader of Stratford District Council explained: "Whilst the District Council is facing inflationary pressures of over 2% increase for pay and contracts, The Cabinet recognises that family budgets are under significant financial pressures, which is why we are proposing to fund the revenue gap using our reserves to minimise an increase for next year.
"Reserves of £9 million have been built up over a number of years within the financial strategy and reflect our prudent and sound financial management, in anticipation of challenging times. However, it will ultimately be for elected councillors to decide on any increase at the Full Council meeting on Monday 26 February 2018.
"Funds from reserves are also being allocated to help the homeless, for bed and breakfast costs, as well as initiatives that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our services."
The District Council have also identified a number of better ways of working, ideas that were presented during the Strategic Review last year. These will begin to be implemented this year and will save the Council money in the longer term.
Following The Cabinet's decision on Monday 15 January, the proposals will go out for consultation - a questionnaire will be sent to the Council's Citizens' Panel, seeking views on a range of issues including Council Tax and the proposed amendments to the budget.
The results of the consultation will be considered by The Cabinet at the next meeting before the final budget recommendations are made to Council on Monday 26 February.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575