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Council sets out draft budget proposals for 2024/25

Author: Craig Forsyth Published: 7th December 2023 09:15

Councillor Malcolm Longley, Cabinet Member for Finance at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “We have worked hard to shape a robust, balanced draft budget that prioritises our resources to support our most vulnerable residents and protect frontline services in the most cost-effective way possible.

West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) draft budget proposals for 2024/25 will continue to protect the most vulnerable in our community whilst also tackling an unprecedented rise in costs and demand for services. 

In the current climate of public spending pressures affecting local authorities nationally, the Council continues to experience inflationary and cost of living pressures impacting on the cost of providing services and the number of people needing help and support, particularly around supporting children in care, vulnerable adults, and those needing temporary housing. 

To address these issues, WNC is proposing to increase spending on services in 2024/25. The proposed net revenue budget totals £409.2m (excluding grant funded schools' expenditure of £451m) and also includes £25.7m of efficiencies through planned improvements in productivity and additional income generation. 

Cabinet members will initially consider the draft budget at their meeting next week (Tuesday 12 December), with a six-week public consultation launching the following day (13 December) when residents will be encouraged to have their say ahead of the final budget going to Full Council in February. 

To help WNC balance the books whilst continuing to protect services during its fourth year as a unitary authority, the draft budget proposals include: 

  • Increasing fees and charges broadly in line with inflation, to ensure they continue to fairly reflect today’s operating costs.
  • Proposing to raise Council Tax by 4.99% (around £14.9m), including 2% of the increase going towards adults social care, as specified by the Government. This increase equates to an average rise of £1.63 a week on a Band D property
  • Continuing to review services and restructure teams within the organisation, introducing new, more efficient ways of working to make back office savings without impacting on how services are delivered to residents.

During 2024/25 the Council also plans to invest a total of almost £143m in its capital programme, to improve local infrastructure and assets such as land, buildings and equipment.  

It is also set to spend an estimated £20m public health funding from Government in the year ahead to progress a range of schemes aimed at improving residents’ wellbeing, reducing health inequalities and continuing to support communities through the ongoing cost of living challenges. 

Councillor Malcolm Longley, Cabinet Member for Finance at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “We have worked hard to shape a robust, balanced draft budget that prioritises our resources to support our most vulnerable residents and protect frontline services in the most cost-effective way possible. 

“Like councils up and down the country, we continue to face financial pressures from rising costs and demand for the services the council provides, particularly those services supporting children and vulnerable adults, and it’s important we address these whilst still working to deliver upon our ambitions to improve outcomes for our residents. Our draft budget enables us to strike this fine balance for the year ahead. 

“Increasing Council Tax is always a difficult decision we have to make each year, but as one of our key sources of funding it ensures that we can continue to protect essential services for all our residents.” 

Cabinet will consider the draft budget proposals during their meeting at The Forum, Towcester, from 6pm on Tuesday, 12  December – this can be watched live via the Council’s Youtube Channel

The full 2024/25 draft budget reports are available to view online with the agenda for 12 December Cabinet  

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