Circumstances have changed since we last asked you about our budget for 2023/24.
The Government’s Autumn Statement has moved the goalposts considerably. They have decided that council tax can increase by up to 2.99% in the general charge, plus an extra charge (called a precept) of up to 2% to help fund adult social care.
This means there can be a 4.99% increase without the need for a costly local referendum – 2% more than the original limit, which is what we originally proposed and consulted with you about.
The Government has put off making the most difficult decisions about funding cuts to address the black hole in public sector finances until 2025. It has also provided some additional funding to help us support the most vulnerable.
But while the immediate position is not as severe as we anticipated, we still need to plan now for tough times ahead. This is to ensure our funding is sustainable and we can continue to provide support to those who need it most, as well as the services everyone needs.
Our funding allocation from Government effectively assumes that we will increase council tax by the full amount now allowed. If we don’t do this, it may impact on future funding settlements, with the Government assuming we have more money than we actually do.
From speaking to other comparable councils, we know they have reached the same conclusion we reluctantly have – that there is little choice but to look at raising council tax in line with the new limit.