How do you want Cambridgeshire County Council to spend your Council Tax? Now’s the time to have your say
- Credit: Archant
Residents and businesses across Cambridgeshire are being asked not to forget to have their say on the budget challenge facing communities across the county.
The council is transforming the way it works in order to deliver savings of £29 million this year and £98.5 million over the following five years. This is against a context of County Council having saved £186.1 million already over the last five years.
Cambridgeshire County Council manages this process through reviewing its annual business plan which includes looking at the authority’s priorities and deciding the budget for next year, including setting the level of Council Tax.
This includes finding new and better ways to support people living independently and staying healthy, driving down costs for example through increasingly competitive procurement of contracts, finding more efficient ways of fixing roads and responding to our communities by making it easier to us use more services online.
This year the council is keen to hear how concerned people are about the on-going financial pressure faced by our public services and if increasing council tax should be part of the strategy to cope with the pressure.
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The public are being asked to consider various Council Tax scenarios, including a 2% increase to only go towards Adult Social Care (known as the Adult Social Care Precept), or alternatively an increase to go towards all services of 1.99%. They could also opt not to increase Council Tax or Adult Social Care precept at all or agree both increases totalling 3.99%.
The council currently spends around £549 million (gross), per year on behalf of communities to deliver vital services for residents. This includes £255 million from council tax and £105 million from Government (grants which are expected to fall to £64 million over the next five years). The rest is made up of £61 million in Business Rates and £128 million further in other income, fees and charges.
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This inevitably means the council (along with all other local authorities) will need to continue to seek ways to bridge the financial gap which can include making significant changes to the services we provide.
However, transforming what the Council does, working smarter as well as finding efficiencies by delivering services differently; looking at ways to increase income (for example from assets such as land and property) will be the main driver to achieve savings.
County council officers have been visiting community events and talking to people face to face. To compliment this we are also inviting people to give their views on-line at http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CambsBusinessplan2016 People have until October 14 to fill in the survey. You can also find out more about the council’s budget at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/budget2017 as well as an animation explaining what money is spent on.
Or alternatively people can e-mail their views to Research.Group@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk
Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Steve Count, Chairman of General Purposes Committee, said: “This challenge faces all Cambridgeshire’s communities and we want people to have their say. We are saving millions of pounds by transforming how we work while still providing vital services. “But we still have to do more for less as the money we have available to spend does not cover the increasing costs of services. I am pleased that residents have been helping us in our task by asking us where they can do more by volunteering or getting involved, through their parish councils, Neighbourhood groups, Wards and Town Councils in various schemes to improve things in their communities.”