We provide services that residents use every day, such as waste and recycling collections, keeping our streets and open spaces clean, community safety patrols and more.
As a result of carefully managing our finances and an established commercial property and cash investment portfolio, which raises vital income to pay for our services, we are in a good position compared to a lot of other councils.
This means that we are able to do things very few other councils can, such as supporting the delivery of strategic projects for the future of the borough including the revitalisation of the town centre, the renewal of the leisure park and driving forward the delivery of new homes on Manydown.
Listening to what residents have told us, our updated Council Plan 2023 to 2027 sets out the council’s key priorities and actions over the next four years. It focuses on three core priorities:
- a place where people can have pride in their communities and the borough
- a borough where we protect, restore, reconnect and enhance our natural environment
- a council that delivers high-quality services for our residents
Every year we are required by law to set a budget, which shows how we plan to pay for our services for the following year and beyond to understand and prepare for the financial challenges we will face in future years.
Although we are in a good financial position, we have faced one of the most challenging financial periods in history for local government, with a backdrop of rising costs, no funding from government to deliver our services and high levels of inflation. This is despite making £17.5 million of savings since 2009.
An overview of council funding
There are three main sources of money that we have access to – revenue budget, capital budget and reserves.
Our revenue budget is the funding that we have to deliver our services and we raise this income in a number of ways including the borough’s share of your annual council tax bill, business rates and fees and charges for additional services.
Unlike many other councils we have a large commercial property and cash investments portfolio. The income we get from property we own is double the amount we get from council tax and business rates.
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 to help with potential issues that could impact our ability to 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. The reserves we currently hold are equivalent to the money we spend on our services for six months.
Investment included in the 2024/25 budget
The approved budget sets out how we plan to use our resources to deliver our services and support key priorities and projects identified in the updated Council Plan 2023 to 2027, from April 2024.
Our focus is to address the priorities of residents, businesses and partners, working together to make the borough that we all live, work and enjoy the best it can be.
The budget for 2024/25 includes:
- an additional £750,000 to keep the borough’s streets and open spaces clean and well-maintained
- an extra £180,000 to maintain and improve play areas across the borough
- an additional £165,000 to drive forward the delivery of much-needed affordable housing, with a focus on social rented homes, to tackle the borough’s growing housing register
- plans for more investment to support the borough’s community and voluntary sector
- funding to continue our free events programme to support businesses and the vibrancy of the Top of the Town
- support for strategic projects for the future of the borough, including the renewal of Basingstoke Leisure Park and the revitalisation of Basingstoke town centre
- additional funding to maintain natural areas and to deliver a biodiversity strategy for the borough in response to the borough’s ecological emergency
- plans to power more community centres with solar panels to help meet the borough’s challenging climate targets
- continuing support for the innovative work of the Basingstoke and Deane Social Inclusion Partnership to prevent homelessness and end rough sleeping in the borough
- investment for schemes to support victims of domestic abuse, with the council working towards accreditation from the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance by the end of 2024/25
- recognising the ongoing cost of living crisis, continuing council tax support as well as funding for community transport to help residents who cannot access public transport
- freezing the cost of bulky waste collections and replacement waste bins
To fund these proposals, a 10p per week or £5 council tax increase will bring the borough’s part of the council tax to £141.42 for the average household. Despite the proposed increase, Basingstoke and Deane is expected to be one of the lowest districts in Hampshire, and most of the rest of the country, again.
Alongside this, charges for additional services the council provides, such as car parking, would go up by an average of three per cent to reflect the rising costs to deliver these services.