Pay Apply Report

Executive budget contains no Council Tax rise and transformation plans

The Executive of Eden District Council has agreed its budget recommendation to put before full Council for approval on 14 February 2019. The budget proposal contains no Council Tax rise and a series of measures to generate commercial income for the Council and achieve savings through transforming services.

Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder, Councillor Lesley Grisedale, said: “This budget contains no rise in the District Council’s share of Council Tax, no cuts to services and a firm commitment to addressing our budget deficit. As a Council we are operating commercially to generate income to sustain and improve services. We are achieving this by constructing small business units in Penrith for rent to meet local demand and through the Heart of Cumbria Ltd offering quality homes at affordable rents to local families and key workers, which provides an income stream for the Council.

“Our Chief Executive Rose Rouse is spearheading the One Eden Programme with a £500,000 budget funded from the Business Rates Retention Reserve. This would provide a platform to modernise service through smarter working practices, digital services delivery and improvements to office accommodation. One Eden is a four year programme with targets to help the Council achieve efficiency savings and income generation to offset a projected budget deficit of £1,760,000 by 2023.

Since the Council’s Executive agreed a draft budget public consultation in December 2018, the Council has received details of the provisional financial settlement from central government. This is anticipated to allocate an additional £400,000 into the Council’s revenue budget, so reducing the operating deficit to just over £900,000 in 2019/2020. A Band D property would pay £190.75 for District Council services in 2019/2020.

Government funding for Council services in 2019/20 comes from the following sources:

  • Rural Services Delivery Grant
  • Income from the Business Rates Retention Scheme (BRRS)
  • New Homes Bonus

Under BRRS, billing authorities such as Eden District Council, receive a proportion of Business Rates as part of their government funding. Last year, the District Council received 11% of the business rates total for the District around £2.3million.

Included in the budget recommended to Council is also a £250,000 Place Shaping Reserve, drawn from the authority’s Business Rates Retention Reserve. This money would be used as an investment fund by the Council’s Chief Executive to deliver priorities contained in the Council Plan over the next four years (2019-2023) such as encouraging economic growth and the provision of new homes. The money would be used to fund feasibility studies, business cases, design and procurement and provide capacity for enabling and commissioning and project management to drive the Council Plan’s priorities forward.

This work would complement the Council’s £11 million capital budget over the next four years, which includes allocations of £2.3million for the single site accommodation project for the Council’s main offices in Penrith and £3.3million for Heart of Cumbria Ltd to purchase affordable homes for rent.

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