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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > January 2018 > Council Puts Forward Budget

Council Puts Forward Budget to Protect the Vulnerable and Invest in Our Future

Bedford Borough Council’s Executive will discuss the planned budget for 2018/19 next week as it faces further cuts in government funding and increased demand for its services.

The main government funding for the Council has been cut from £30.1 million in 2015/16 to just £5.8 million in 2019/20. In 2018/19 alone, there is a reduction of £4.4 million that needs to be found from funding used to provide local services.

Social care is a top priority for the council with demand for services to support older residents rocketing. This means that costs for adult social care services have increased by 13.7% since 2015/2016. Against these challenges the Council has put forward a budget that protects services and puts the most vulnerable first.

Key to the Council providing a balanced budget in the face of these pressures will be the move to make the council’s services more efficient and accessible through the introduction of a Digital Operating Model including a brand new public website making it easier for residents to access services.

The Council is also prioritising investment in a number of areas to make Bedford Borough a better place to live, work and do business. Specific proposals include:

Investment in Transport Infrastructure

The Transporting Bedford 2020 Programme will see the biggest ever investment in Bedford Borough’s Road Network including traffic improvements to junctions across Bedford. In total £18.6 million will be invested. Further investment is also being put forward for maintaining our existing roads amounting to £19.6 million. This is £8.9 million more than government have funded. Traffic issues around Manton Lane will also see funding of £3.5 million for improvements.

Supporting the Most Vulnerable

In addition to the £5m extra funding in adult social care, there is £5.6 million for disabled facility grants to help people to stay in their own homes and £2.5m to complete the refurbishment of the Council's residential care homes.

Supporting Jobs

As well as the necessary highways works to make Bedford Borough a great place for business there is specific investment of £2.7m in the i-Worx and i-Hub. This includes providing units to support smaller local engineering businesses with a facility designed to develop skills in engineering. The local Jobs Hub has been retained to help even more people get help and support in the Borough in applying for jobs.

Investing in our local schools

A total of £59 million to be invested including completing the 2 tier transition currently taking place, new schools places and replacing temporary classrooms with permanent buildings.

The budget will be considered alongside the views of local residents who fed in to the recent public consultation on the budget.

The proposals recommend keeping the core council tax increase to 1.75%, along with the additional social care precept of 2% to be spent on adult social care.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "Like Councils across the country we’re facing even further cuts in government funding for local services. We’ve also seen demand for services such as care for the elderly continue to grow. Despite this, we’re protecting services for local people, safeguarding the most vulnerable and investing in our future.”

Finance Portfolio Holder Cllr Michael Headley added: "This budget supports our approach to find the savings we need by introducing more digital and online processes, making the services we provide more efficient. Despite government cuts we’ve also prioritised investment in key initiatives like improving the borough’s transport networks and investing in our schools. These are real projects that will improve the lives of the people who live work and do business here.”

The Budget will be discussed by the Executive on the 24th January before being considered at the 7th February Full Council meeting.

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