Council Approves Budget Which Puts Residents First in
Bedford Borough Council’s 2017/18
budget has been approved at a meeting of the Full Council, with 39
votes for and 1 vote against.
The context for the budget is a combination of
a massive cut in government funding and a sharp rise in the need
for services, especially social care for the growing elderly
population. The Council’s main government grant is falling from
over £30 million in 2015 to just £5.8 million in 2019. By
2020/21, the authority faces a funding gap of £27.5 million.
The budget includes major savings to help
close this gap and ensure a balanced budget. Meanwhile, it
prioritises protecting the most vulnerable in society:
- An additional £2.7m for adult social care packages, following
on from a £3.2m boost last year.
- Investing over £1m extra in Children’s social care, supporting
young people leaving care and increasing the number of front line
- Support for those in greatest housing need with an extra
£200,000 for emergency accommodation.
- Continued investment in disabled facility grants to enable
people to live safely at home
- Refurbishment of the Council’s residential homes to provide
improved places to live for those who rely on these services.
- A major investment in the change to a 2 tier school system and
the replacement of all temporary buildings with permanent
Bedford Borough Council’s council tax increase
is held down to 1.75%, while the Government’s social care levy will
add another 3% to bills.
Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "In the
face of brutal government funding cuts and increasing need for
services, this budget puts support for the vulnerable in our
community first. Those relentless, punishing government cuts
for local services have meant that difficult decisions are
unavoidable. So we are grateful to everyone who took part in
producing this budget, and for the overwhelming support it received
across all parties and independents.”
Finance Portfolio Holder Cllr Michael Headley
added: "This budget prioritises supporting the most vulnerable. We
are protecting many front line services which have been slashed
elsewhere, and we are changing the way the council works in
order to maintain services as far as possible. We're grateful that
the Full Council gave such strong support for a budget which puts
residents first, in what are dreadful financial times."