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Proposal to increase council tax discussed by shadow authority

A proposed budget for the new West Northamptonshire Council will be discussed by the shadow authority today.

A highlighted aim of the package is building 200 new council homes as well as maintaining the current level of services throughout West Northants.

The shadow authority released the following statement:

The first draft budget for West Northamptonshire Council has been announced providing a stable foundation on which to deliver ambitious plans for the future.

Cllr Rebecca Breese, shadow portfolio holder for finance, human resources and corporate services said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be able to present a prudent budget to the Shadow Executive that sets the path for further improvements in the years ahead – and to build 200 much-needed new homes.” 

Cllr Ian McCord, Leader of the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, said: “The formation of West Northamptonshire Council is a real opportunity to deliver a fresh start and a bright future with our ambitious plans.

“Uniting the local authorities in the west will bring many strengths and form a new organisation which is greater than the sum of its parts.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for us financially and operationally, an enormous amount of effort has gone into coping with this and the Covid-19 response remains our number one priority.”

The proposals to be put before the Shadow Executive for consideration will maintain services and standards. The budget proposes no service reductions and will be taking full advantage of the efficiencies of running one organisation where previously there were four.

The impact of Covid has placed higher demands on services and got in the way of some planned savings this year. Income has reduced and the authority has seen lower Council Tax and Business Rates collection, issues which have been factored into this budget.

Like all councils, West Northamptonshire will benefit from one off Government funding to help. It is important in building this budget to make sure that council services are affordable and sustainable, such as by reducing the costs of our services where they could be delivered more efficiently. 

This work will continue for example by reviewing contracts, income sources and assets.

It is also proposed that Council Tax is increased by 4.99%, comprising 1.99% core tax and a 3% adult social care precept.

For West Northamptonshire Council this would mean an average Band D level of Council Tax of £1,566.39 from 1 April 2021, or an increase of £74.45 for the year or the equivalent of £1.43 per week.

The Shadow Executive will also consider the 2021/2022 Housing programme.

The estimated cost of managing and operating the Council’s Housing Stock is £54.7m which is funded mainly through housing rents.

In line with current national policy the budget includes a proposal, which is subject to consultation, for rent increases in 2021/22 of 1.5% on average for council house tenants.

The council proposes to deliver up to 200 new homes at a cost of £34.1 m financed from the £59.8 million capital programme.

West Northamptonshire Council is focussed on becoming a greener and cleaner authority, a great place in which people can live and work, and visit.

The council aims to recover and grow the economy, playing a full role as one of the largest authorities within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, while establishing strong and safe communities with good housing. It wants residents to have the best prospects and the skills to succeed, and for children to have the best start in life.

Further integration of adult social care and health services is also key to the future, working towards a new way of delivering important services in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders. This makes sense as not only is there a financial efficiency but also it is much less complicated for people who want to access the services.

If the plans are endorsed they will go to public consulation and then be reviewed by the Shadow Executive on February 12. Full approval will be decided at the full meeting of the authority on February 23.

Budget papers

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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