Residents across Bath and North East Somerset are being asked for their views on a planned rise in council tax of up to 2% to prevent further service cuts and support the vulnerable.
A series of public webinars were held in December, in which council leaders outlined the financial challenges faced by the local authority, together with their proposals to balance the books for 2021/22 while investing to improve people’s lives and deliver the council’s priorities.
B&NES Council is facing financial pressures in 2021/22 with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to have a significant impact on its finances, together with a rising demand for adult and children’s services.
As a result, the council has identified a predicted budget shortfall of £11.61 million.
Councillor Richard Samuel, cabinet member for Resources said: “As we explained in our recent budget webinars, Covid-19 has hit our finances hard and continues to do so.
“Although we will be calling on the government for additional financial support we can’t rely on getting it, so we need to think differently.
“We must to continue to deliver frontline services, but we will have to make savings and we face hard choices about how we prioritise our spending.
“Our work to improve people’s lives and deliver our priorities must continue. This includes creating better, greener spaces through liveable neighbourhoods, investing in our high streets to support retail, tackling the climate and ecological emergency, protecting adult and children’s services and tackling inequalities.
“However, to achieve our aims, prevent further service cuts and ensure the needs of our most vulnerable are met, we’ll need to draw on our reserves and increase Council Tax.
“We do though appreciate that its been a difficult year for everyone which is why we’re asking residents whether they would support a rise in Council Tax bills.
“The responses we receive will help shape our spending plans and I urge everyone to have their say.”
Residents are being asked to respond to two questions:
- Are you in support of a general Council Tax increase of up to 2% to help prevent further service cuts?
- Are you in support of an Adult social care precept on Council Tax to meet the needs of our vulnerable residents?
Over the coming weeks, the council will draw up its detailed spending proposals for 2021/22. The proposals will be scrutinised by councillors at Policy Development and Scrutiny Panels and considered by the B&NES Cabinet in February 2021.
Final decisions will be made at the council’s Budget and Council Tax meetings on Tuesday 23rd February.