In the news: Cabinet agrees a balanced budget for 2023/24
Cabinet Members have agreed proposals for a balanced budget for the council for 2023/24, at a meeting of Basildon Council's Cabinet on Thursday 9 February 2023.
Over the past 12 months there have been significant rises in inflation, causing everyday essentials - food, fuel, utilities and more - to cost much more than they did a year ago. The invasion of Ukraine has added to that burden, impacting global supply chains and greatly impacting everyday lives for residents and businesses. The council is not immune to these challenges, enduring an increase in the cost of the critical services provided to local people.
Despite these national and international financial challenges, the Cabinet has agreed a balanced budget for 2023/24 - a budget which minimises the impact on resident's wallets as far as possible without impacting critical services.
The agreed budget includes proposals to increase the Basildon Council portion of Council Tax bills by 2.99%. This is equivalent to 16p per week for a Band D property.
This is well below the current level of inflation and only as much as is necessary to continue delivering the services that matter most to local people. Basildon Council's proportion of the Council Tax bill is 14%, as outlined below:
71% - Essex County Council
14% - Basildon Borough Council
11% - Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner
4% - Essex Police, Fire and Crime Authority
The agreed budget also includes a proposal to raise rent for council tenants by 7%, bringing the estimated average rent for 2023/24 to £99 per week. This is also below the current level of inflation and in line with the council's ambition to minimise the impact on residents.
In addition to these items, other changes in resource allocation have been agreed. The police service has received significant increases in funding and police numbers locally and regionally have risen as a result. In addition, the council is investing in a community wardens service. The Cabinet has, therefore, agreed that it is no longer necessary to fund additional police officers as part of the council's budget.
The Cabinet has also agreed to discontinue funding towards the provision of all night street lighting around the borough. Councillors will continue to work closely with Essex County Council to ensure that they appropriately fund street lighting as far as possible.
Councillor Andrew Baggott, Leader of Basildon Council, said: "We understand the pressure local people are feeling as we continue to tackle a number of financial challenges. The council is not immune to these challenges and we need to make some difficult decisions to best serve our whole community. I am pleased we are able to agree this robust budget for the year ahead - protecting the services that matter most to you."
Councillor Stuart Sullivan, Cabinet Member for Resources and Commercial, said: "These budget proposals, and continued effective management of our resources, provide a sound financial base which allows us to continue with and add to our ambitious programme of investment and improvement across the borough.
"To maximise the resources available to us, we will continue to review services for efficiencies. We will cut costs where it is appropriate to do so and invest where we can to modernise the way we work for residents."
The proposed budget will now be put before Full Council for final approval at its meeting on 23 February 2023.
The full Cabinet report can be found on our website: https://www.basildonmeetings.info/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=297&MId=7533
Published on Friday 10 February 2023