Published: Wednesday, 23rd December 2020
2020 has seen Council budgets around the country stretched like never before. The Royal Borough - like Councils up and down the country - has been on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.
As we look ahead to the challenges that 2021 will bring, we must face the reality that once again we will have less money to spend on the services that we provide to you.
As we plan to set our budget, we must also contend with the timing of our ‘financial settlement’ - the moment the government provides in central government grant each year. The government have chosen now - in the week before Christmas - to announce its settlement and open its consultation. We would never normally choose the festive season to run a consultation like this, but sadly we have no choice. We must set our budget and we need your views and ideas ahead of the difficult choices we will need to take.
Since 2010, the amount of money we receive from government has reduced significantly. This decade of austerity, combined with increases in costs, means that we are facing an estimated £150m pressure on our budgets – that’s over £1,000 per household. Significant finance and resources will also be required to deliver our Carbon Neutral Plan by 2030.
Cllr Chris Kirby, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said:
“The pandemic has shown how important council services are to our communities, but yet again the financial pressures we face in 2021 will be significant.
We will continue to focus on protecting the services that local people rely on and as always, those most in need will be our priority. We’re asking for residents’ views to help us identify what is important to you for the Council’s budget”.
The consultation is open until 17 January 2021.