Balancing the books to protect vital public services is the priority for the next financial year after the budget for 2023/4 was agreed at Budget Council on Monday 27 February 2023.
Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council said:
“Yet again we are setting a budget in challenging circumstances. We continue to experience the impact of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis as do our residents, our communities and our local businesses.
“To maintain funding for our public services at the current rates now, and in the future, requires robust financial management and unfortunately to stand still a Council tax rise is unavoidable.
“However, I am proud that we have been able to provide some additional support to our foster carers through a new Council Tax exemption scheme. Our foster carers exemplify the kindness of our borough, making sure that our youngest, most vulnerable residents have a good start in life.”
In October 2022, the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) estimated the impacts of the economic situation on the local authority. These included:
· providing for pay settlements which ensure the Council can retain and attract staff;
- a likely fall in income as residents cut back on spending;
- higher contract costs due to inflation;
- higher energy costs and
- a significant fall in car parking income.
The MTFS also highlighted that additional investment in children’s and adults’ social care is required, to make sure the Council is as well placed as possible to respond to rising costs and demand.
With this in mind, the budget for the financial year 2023 to 2024 is built around three key principles:
- investing in social care to address pressures from an ageing population, supporting people to live their best possible lives, working in partnership with the NHS;
- maintaining existing spending levels on front line services, avoiding the need for further reductions; and
- protecting the Council’s finances over the next two years.
To protect and maintain vital public services Council Tax has been increased to 4.99% which is below the current rate of inflation.
This is made up of an increase of 2.99% and an additional 2% on the Social Care Precept which will help to fund and protect social care services to vulnerable children and adults.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme will remain at its current level.
These increases are factored into the Government’s announcement of the Council’s spending power. The Council has already delivered savings of £120m since austerity started for local government in 2010.
Full details of the approved budget are available at www.calderdale.gov.uk