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Budget 2014 15

Council Approves Budget That ‘Puts People First’

 

Bedford Borough Council will be freezing its council tax level for the 4th year in a row after the Council’s budget proposals were approved last night.

 

The Council faces severe financial challenges, brought about by unprecedented government cuts and rising demand, which saw the Council identify savings of £13.8 million in order to balance its books. Despite this the budget also sets out funding to safeguard valuable services and protect the most vulnerable.

 

Among the support for the most vulnerable are £5million in funding to support looked after children in the Borough and new fostering fees and allowances, for those looking after children on behalf of us all.

 

Cllr Sue Oliver, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services said: “We are facing unprecedented financial challenges but it is vital that we continue to look after the most vulnerable in society. This budget will increase support where it is needed most, by giving the best start to the children most in need.

 

I’m also proud of cross-party support for giving our workers the Living wage.”

 

As well as backing major investments in key projects from new School buildings to the missing link of the Bedford Western Bypass, the budget also looks to the future and ensures Bedford can continue to thrive and buck the national economic trend by delivering major investment in Bedford town centre including the bus station regeneration scheme and the Mayor’s Free Parking Deal.

 

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “This budget reflects our ongoing efforts to save services and support vulnerable people, while keeping council tax down for hard-pressed local households.”

 

“In Bedford Borough we’ve said no to library closures, no to leisure centre closures, no to children’s centre closures and no to fortnightly waste collections, while avoiding any increase in council tax for four successive years.”

 

The largest saving is within workforce (£2.8m) which includes a reduced senior management structure.  There is also a £2m saving achieved by pushing down inflationary costs on many budget areas.

 

Following new government regulations the decision on the budget was subject to a recorded vote, with all members voting to support the proposals.

 

Highlights of the Agreed 2014/15 budget:

Freezing council tax – 4th year running

Protecting services:
Leisure centres and swimming pools saved
All Children’s Centres protected
No Library closures
Rural buses and evening urban and Sunday networks
Weekly bin collections maintained

 

Investing for the Future
Bunyan Centre saved and revamped
£5million to repair and maintain our roads and pavements
Substantial investment in our new and improved school buildings
Funding for missing link of the Bedford Western Bypass

 

Breathing Life into the Heart of Bedford
Mayor’s Free Parking Deal offering 2 hours free parking every Saturday in Council-owned town centre car parks
New Bus Station
Town Centre Car Park charges frozen for the 4th year running

 

Protecting the Most Vulnerable
New Fostering fees and allowances, for those looking after children on behalf of us all
Increased funding for support for Looked after Children (LAC’s)
More help for older people to support their quality of life outside of hospital, through the Better Care Fund
Paying the living wage to our staff

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