25th Sep, 2020

Borough Council rubber stamps budget with council tax an extra £5 per year

REDDITCH Borough Council has rubber stamped its budget which will see its council tax precept go up by the maximum £5 per year.

That is the equivalent of 10p a week on a Band D property taking it from £239.15 to £244.15.

Last year the council’s external auditors Grant Thornton served the Conservative-controlled authority with a ‘Section 24’ notice – saying it needed to find up to £6million in savings over the next three years or else run out of money.

The ruling group acknowledged its own role in the S24 notice by failing to listen to the advice of its finance officers to increase last year’s council tax by the full amount.

The authority is saving more than £250,000 with the closure of One Stop Shops, withdrawal from Rubicon Business Centre and a review of the Voluntary Community Service funding.

A further £467,000 has been found through a rigorous examination of costs, a management review and changes to the Dial-A-Ride service.

The authority has been lucky too – it got an unexpected £494,000 in New Homes Bonus from the government and thanks to some judicious pension fund investments in emerging markets by the County Council scooped an additional £480,000.

Despite the progress, the authority will still have to find an extra £1.6million in savings over the next three years.

Council Leader Matt Dormer said: “We need to focus on running our services like a commercial business and where possible being more efficient and even generating income.

“We have no choice but to work differently if we are to do the best by our residents, as demonstrated by this budget.”

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