Consultation on budget proposals for 2022 to 2023
Update - 2 March 2022
The council’s budget for 2022/23 was approved by councillors at a meeting on Monday 28 February 2022.
As part of the budget, a £5 or 10p per week, average increase for the borough council part of the council tax for 2022/23 was agreed which is likely to make it one of the lowest of the districts in Hampshire, and most of the rest of the country, again.
To help fund services, as well as a small increase in council tax, a 3% average increase in fees and charges will help to pay for the costs of these services without putting the burden on council tax payers.
The budget includes additional funding for frontline services such as waste collections, grass and hedge cutting, maintenance of the borough’s green open spaces, housing and homelessness support, help for residents submitting planning applications as well as making it easier to contact the council.
Following public consultation on draft budget proposals, a number of changes have been made. This includes maintaining a free rat and mice pest control service for residents who are in receipt of means tested benefits and supporting a number of community events and community organisations for an extra year to allow organisers to investigate alternative funding.
To support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to help shape the future of the borough, the budget also maintains previous commitments for additional funding for the council’s key priorities including economic recovery and initiatives to meet the borough’s challenging climate change targets.
Alongside this, councillors approved the capital budget for 2022/23 to 2025/26 which will see £132 million of investment in borough-wide projects such as improvements to play areas, allotments and sports and community facilities, disabled facilities grants and infrastructure for the Manydown development. To help fund services in the future, the council will also continue to look for new investment opportunities to raise additional income.
An overview of council funding
There are three main sources of money that we have access to – revenue budget, capital budget and reserves. You can find out more about how we use these budgets by watching the animation below:
Our revenue budget is the funding that we have to deliver our day-to-day services and we raise this income in a number of ways including the borough’s share of your annual council tax bill, business rates, fees and charges for additional services.
Unlike many other councils we have a large commercial property and cash investments portfolios. The income we get from property we own is double the amount we get from council tax and business rates. For a closer look on how we raise income, please watch the animation below:
Here is a breakdown on how we spent our revenue budget last year:
Capital funding is used to improve facilities, undertake large scale projects, investments and purchase property, which will provide income to help pay for our services.
We also have to hold funds in case we don’t receive the income that we expect or have to incur additional expenditure. These are called reserves, with some of this money allocated for specific purposes. Reserves cannot be used to fund ongoing spending and are finite. It is also important to have reserves to help us pay for emergencies and unexpected events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The reserves we currently hold are equivalent to the money we spend on our services for about 18 months.
Our proposals for 2022 to 2023
The proposed budget sets out how we plan to use our resources to deliver our day-to-day services and support the priorities identified in the Council Plan 2020 to 2024.
Our focus is to lay strong foundations that will shape the way the borough grows over the next 25 to 30 years and deliver opportunities for all communities, ensuring Basingstoke and Deane remains a great place to live and work.
With a funding gap of £1.2 million predicted in 2025/26, the context in which we are working to deliver our priorities is challenging:
- Central government is expecting local councils to be more self-sufficient in the way they fund services for residents
- Government funding reductions also affect Hampshire County Council, which looks after areas such as education and highways, and it has recently identified significant savings measures that are likely to impact the borough council provision
- Just doing the same costs more so we need to transform the way we work and regularly look for new ways to raise income.
The budget proposals will ensure we are in a good financial position so we can protect and invest in front line services, support the borough’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and shape the future of the borough.
We have identified additional proposals to make savings and increase income by £0.94 million in 2022/23, increasing to £1.66 million by 2025/26. Alongside this, we have pressures of £0.91 million in 2022/23, reducing to £0.74 million in 2025/26.
As part of the 2022/23 budget, we are proposing the following:
- Increasing the borough council’s contribution of council tax by £5 per year (10p per week), bringing the total for the average household to £136.42. This is likely to make us one of the lowest of the districts in Hampshire, and most of the rest of the country, again.
- Reviewing the charges for optional services the council provides, such as car parking. The proposals include an average 3% increase in fees and charges to cover inflation and rising costs. Increases have been carefully considered to ensure that costs are affordable and competitive against other councils and providers. This is a fair way of balancing the cost between those who decide to use these optional services and everyone having to pay.
- Reviewing our services in line with the priorities identified in the Council Plan 2020 to 2024 to ensure our services continue to meet residents’ needs now and into the future. Proposals include increasing charges for optional waste services, introducing concessionary charges for pest control for those on means-tested benefits, an increase in residents’ parking permits and reviewing our council tax reduction and business rates relief schemes. Recognising the importance of front line services, additional funding is being proposed for grounds maintenance, street cleansing, green spaces, housing and homelessness support and customer services.
- As well as the services we are responsible for, we have continued to fund other services and activities that would have been lost without our support. However we need to make sure we can continue to provide vital services that residents value while not burdening the tax payer with extra costs. As a result, we are proposing to review the level of support we provide for services and activities run by other organisations including bus services, funding for additional Dial-A-Ride hours and the Think Safe, Kite Festival, Transport Festival and Festival of Sport events.
- Looking at how we work to ensure that as an organisation, we continue to work more efficiently. This also includes looking at ways the council can bring in additional income through commercialisation activity, maintaining our assets and transforming the way we deliver our services.
For more information about our proposals, please watch this animation below.
The consultation has now closed.