North East Lincolnshire Council last night voted to approve the budget for the next financial year with a focus on the area’s potential for growth and providing quality public services.
Council members approved a 4.98 per cent increase to Council Tax. This increase includes a 1.98 per cent Council Tax rise and a further 3 per cent for the Adult Social Care precept.
The total increase will be the equivalent of about 90p extra a week for a Band A property.
As part of the approved proposals, the Council’s ongoing Capital Programme will see support for the South Humber Industrial Investment (SHIIP), one of the most ambitious projects the Council has undertaken, that will help create thousands of jobs and provide ecological space to protect our environment on the South Humber Bank.
The Council has demonstrated its commitment to long term growth and financial sustainability with the Greater Grimsby Town Deal.
The deal represents a transformative approach to working in partnership with Government and major private investors to accelerate economic and housing growth across North East Lincolnshire.
The Council has also entered into an innovative ‘Union’ arrangement with the North East Lincolnshire CCG, which will lead to a more efficient and effective working relationship with the health sector and make best use of the range of skills and capacity in both organisations to make lasting changes.
Councillor Ray Oxby, Leader of the Council, said this was a prudent budget for economic growth. He added:
“We’ve had tremendous success during the past 12 months in bidding for millions of pounds worth of funds from other bodies for regeneration projects ranging from SHIIP to enhancements in Cleethorpes and Grimsby town centre as well as support to tackle domestic abuse and help for care leavers.
“With this budget we’re committed to building on the country’s first flagship Town Deal with the Government to help regenerate this Borough and further our economic strategy.
“We’ll invest in enforcement activity to tackle rogue landlords, keep our streets clean and reduce anti-social behaviour.
“Modernising our waste and recycling operations is another priority for us, as well as looking at investing in a weekly recycling arrangement and considering a choice of larger bins, where appropriate.
“We will build on the success of our Housing Zone status and Estates Regeneration funding and deliver the right mix of quality, affordable, extra-care and social housing for our residents, strengthening our tax base as a result.
“And we will invest in a series of targeted cleansing operations in our untidiest wards, in return for a community commitment to ‘keep our ward tidy’.”
The way local government is funded is changing. There have been cuts to the main grant from central government and an increasing reliance on locally raised council tax and business rates.
In 2013, the main government grant was just over £52-million pounds, but this year it’s less than £18-million.
About 80 per cent of the Council’s net budget is forecast to be funded from local taxation in 2018/19, rising to 85 per cent in 2020/21.
Councillor Matthew Patrick, portfolio holder for finance and resources, added:
“Millions of pounds have been taken from us over the past few years. The big question is where has that money gone if it is no longer being spent locally?
“We’re working hard to plug the gap and protect services for the most vulnerable by changing the way we work and building a stronger local economy.
“In the face of these pressures, the Council is becoming more self-sufficient and planning for long term financial sustainability by budgeting for growth.
“We have to deliver a balanced budget and a 4.98 per cent rise in Council Tax is the only option when the alternative is more cuts to public services.
“Emptying bins and fixing potholes is a small part of what we do.
“Our total budget for the next 12 months is £124.333m and more than a third of that money (£45.37m) will be spent taking care of older and vulnerable people.
“Another £15m is spent on children’s services and nearly £7m on early help.
“It’s worth remembering that more than two-thirds of our budget is spent supporting children, the elderly and vulnerable people and your council tax helps fund this vital work.”