Council tax increase needed to fight funding gap

Broadland Council is forecasting a long-term financial hit to its books of between £2m and £4m. Phot

Broadland Council is forecasting a long-term financial hit to its books of between £2m and £4m. Photo: Archant/Broadland District Council/Norfolk Conservatives - Credit: Archant/Broadland District Counc

A 3.5pc council tax increase has been recommended by Broadland District Council’s cabinet. 

If the plans are approved at a full council meeting later this month a Broadland resident’s council tax would rise by £4.39, from £125.52 to £129.91, for a Band D property. 

An additional £3.64 per year will also be included to cover the council's special expenditure - funding for essential works such as lamp column replacement.   

At a meeting on Tuesday, Ms Trudy Mancini-Boyle, cabinet member for finance, said: “Unfortunately, nobody wants to put up council tax but clearly looking at the medium-term financial plan we have got a gap forming. 

“That’s why we have considered the increase this year. Just to put it into figures it’s an increase of £4.39 per annum on a Band D property.” 

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A report to the cabinet by the council’s assistant director of finance, Rodney Fincham, set out a possible funding gap developing in 2022/23 of around £1m. 

The funding gap is a considerable reversal of fortunes over 2020 when Broadland council ended the year with almost £3m in its pocket.

This gap is due to an anticipated reduction in the new homes bonus grants – a government scheme to incentivise house building.   

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Mr Fincham’s report said: “A number of key decisions made over the past year, have resulted in additional cost pressures and/or potential savings not being able to be delivered.    

“The impact of this is that the funding gap has not reduced.    

“This means that over the coming years the council could well be faced with some very difficult decisions in order to balance the long-term budgetary position.” 

A consultation found support for this year’s budget, with 59pc of respondents approving increasing council tax to protect services.   

However, only 22 people responded to the consultation, and the council acknowledged the findings may not be representative of the population. 

To balance the budget, Mr Fincham’s report said it may be necessary to take funds from the general revenue reserves. 

However, the council will not know if this is necessary until they are given finalised figures from the UK government. 

The cabinet unanimously recommended to increase council tax and the plan will now go to the full council. 

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