Council approves budget for 2018/19

Councillors in Denbighshire have approved the authority’s budget for 2018/19, with a 4.75% increase in council tax.

Members had considered the implications of the local government settlement and the increase in council tax has been introduced to address financial pressures in social care, as well as continued support for school budgets.

Denbighshire is not alone in considering how to fund an increased demand for funding education and, particularly, social care.  The  budget includes an increase of £1.8m (2.7%) in budgets for schools, and an additional allocation of £1.5 million (3.2%) to social care.  Pressures exist across the organisation and further efficiencies in all services have been identified to help deliver a balanced budget.

The council tax increase for an average Band D propertywill mean an increase of £56.58 which equates to £1.08 a week.

Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said: “A tremendous amount of hard work and consultation has gone into planning for this budget and we are pleased that our efforts have resulted on the budget being approved.

“Setting a budget in a tough financial climate is difficult and over the years, Denbighshire has worked hard to plan ahead to manage the position and to reduce the impact on frontline services as much as possible.

“This has been one of the hardest budgets to work on so far. Whilst the actual reduction from Welsh Government was not as bad as first feared, we need to take into account a number of other factors, such as pressures in pay, pension and the National Living Wage, as well as price/energy inflation, 1% in fire service levy and allowances for increases to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

“The financial climate continues to be challenging and staff across the Council have found savings that will help us balance the books.

“We know that residents of Denbighshire demand that we protect the most vulnerable members of our society, while continuing to deliver the best possible services across the rest of the Council.  In order to address the increasing pressures in Social Care we are therefore recommending that the average Council Tax will increase by 4.75% allowing the council to invest an additional £1.5m in this area to support our most vulnerable residents".

“However, we also know that all our residents are finding the current economic situation challenging, which is why we must keep any increase in Council Tax down to the minimum necessary.

“We can reassure residents that, despite dwindling budgets, we will continue to work to the best of our ability on providing the best possible services to the public”.

Posted on Wednesday 31st January 2018