A core Council Tax freeze, an unprecedented investment to protect vulnerable children and adults, and a multi-million pound commitment towards tackling climate change, all feature as part of BCP Council’s budget proposals for the year ahead.
Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of BCP Council, said; "I am delighted to bring forward our proposals which will see a zero increase in the base Council Tax threshold. We believe this would represent one of the lowest Council Tax increases anywhere in the country over the last two years.
“Our budget proposals bring forward financially credible solutions to ensure we are financially resilient and sustainable into the future, as we continue to deliver on our Big Plan commitment to invest in our iconic place, build new homes, create jobs for local people, and create wealth for our businesses and families.”
As the council plans to invest more than £24 million towards protecting and supporting the most vulnerable people in the community the proposal is to collect the 4% Adult Social Care precept which was delayed last year as the Council strove to keep more money in Council Tax payers pockets.
Councillor Mellor, continued; “We want to improve the life chances and outcomes of the most vulnerable people and we know the precept will only make a small contribution to those critical services therefore we plan to make an unprecedented investment towards protecting and supporting our most vulnerable children and adults.”
A £20 million Green Futures Fund is planned to tackle the climate agenda head on and spearhead plans to reach the council’s goal for carbon neutrality by 2030.
More than £5 million is proposed to continue with unlocking regeneration opportunities, street cleansing including the enhanced work underway in Christchurch, supporting the arts and culture, and rolling out further community safety initiatives.
An extra £8.2 million is proposed to continue maximising positivity and pride in place including the council’s Cleaner, Greener, Safer programme, the summer readiness seasonal response initiative, as well tackling some of those key issues such as essential road maintenance and pothole repairs.
An additional £1.5 million is also planned to improve the council’s customer services creating a modern efficient and flexible service for residents and businesses.
In bringing forward the investment proposals the council plans to embrace new financial solutions and fully utilise its existing assets. This will include setting up a separate company, with the council as the main shareholder to release the long-term value of its beach huts, enabling the council to retain ownership and unlock immediate investment opportunities without impacting tenants.
Councillor Mellor, continues;
“We are committed to retaining and utilising our assets and the proposed income the council will receive through, for example, releasing the value of beach huts is evidence of how we can use our unique position - being one of Europe’s best coastlines – to refinance and release funding to invest in our transformation programme which will ultimately deliver significant savings for the council whilst saving money for council taxpayers in the future.
“Through these proposals we will see less reliance on conventional income streams such as council tax, grants and business rates, and instead use the creative autonomy over our assets so that we can invest in the future, continue to enhance those key council services which matter the most to our residents, and reduce the need to increase Council Tax where possible.”
For more information, please see the full report online.
Proposals will be considered on Wednesday 9 February 2022 at the next meeting of BCP Council’s Cabinet. If approved, plans will then need to be approved by full council prior to implementation.
BCP Council is the tenth-largest urban local authority in England and our communities are vibrant and diverse, with an outstanding quality of life, where everyone plays an active role – a globally-recognised coastline of opportunity, where people love to live, learn, work, explore, invent, relax and play.
The 4% Adult Social Care precept will equate to an increase of just 17p a day for those living in a Band D property.