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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > February 2013 > Budget agreed for 2013

Freeze for average council tax bills - again!

Average council tax bills for Bedford Borough residents are to freeze again after Full Council supported the Mayor's budget for the upcoming financial year.

 

This is the third year in a row that Bedford Borough Council’s share of the average council tax bills for local residents has been frozen or reduced, despite reductions in Central Government funding which has forced the Council to find £48 million of savings over a four year period.

 

The budget agreed by Full Council on Wednesday night followed an extensive public consultation with local residents during 2011 and 2012. The consultations helped to identify savings of nearly £10million which will be delivered for 2013/14 alongside increased funding for school buildings and protecting key services such as rural bus routes, libraries, children’s centres and weekly waste collections. The savings have been targeted on back office services and new ways of procuring services in order to save frontline services.

 

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “This budget reflects our commitment in these tough times to protect front line services, keep local tax bills down and invest in the Borough’s future.

 

“The unprecedented financial challenge we are facing shows no signs of easing and we are being forced to find millions of pounds of savings year after year. In these circumstances we have worked to produce a budget which delivers another average council tax freeze for hard-pressed local households while protecting front line services such as our libraries and children’s centres.

 

“We are also investing in school buildings and in major projects for Bedford Borough and its future, including the second phase of the Western Bypass and the Riverside North development   

           

Councillor Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Asset Management, added: “Throughout this four year process to find £48 million of savings we have been clear we will do all we can to protect front line services and identify savings from back office services. 

 

“To put these challenges into context, we have had to deal with government funding changes that create an overall funding reduction of more than £6 million. This is in addition to the reductions which have taken place in previous years.

 

“Despite these pressures, this budget protects vulnerable members of our community and provides funding for projects which will improve and regenerate the borough.”

 

Key issues from the budget include:

 

·        Average council tax freeze

·        Multi million pound Capital programme to deliver regeneration

·        Additional £3.7 million for Children’s Services

·        Financial grants to be made available to parish councils

·        Protecting weekly bin collections

·        No closures of libraries or Children’s Centres

·        Paying off external debts

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