Council tax in South Gloucestershire has been frozen for a third consecutive year after the three-party revenue budget proposals were agreed at full Council tonight (Wednesday 20 February).
A budget of £189 million has been set for 2013/14 with council tax for a Band D property remaining unchanged at £1,245.20. With precepts added from the Police and Crime Commissioner, parishes and Avon Fire & Rescue Service, the average council tax for a Band D property will be £1,539.27, which will be implemented on April 1. A Living Wage will also be introduced in October for council staff on lower incomes.
Through the transformation and efficiency programme, we need to make savings of £43 million by 2014/15 and with early planning we are already making good progress with £26 million in savings already made from the budget. This means there will be no major new reductions to services for the next 12 months. We are well placed to deal with the financial challenges that lie ahead, which all councils are facing at the moment.
To draw up this year’s budget we carried out a wide-ranging consultation on the proposals which included holding road show events at the district’s main shopping centres, as well as carrying out our online survey.
More than 1,410 people responded. You told us the top three services we should prioritise are care for older people, schools and care for the disabled and those with learning difficulties, which is reflected in our spending priorities. Satisfaction with the council is up four per cent on last year to 73 per cent, and 54 per cent of respondents think we provide good value for money.
Our spending commitments will be met by freezing the council’s inflation provisions for 2013/14. This will reduce our council tax increase requirements and in turn allow it to access a government grant to freeze council tax for a third year.
The budget settlement was agreed by all political groups representing South Gloucestershire Council at a meeting of full Council held on Wednesday 20 February.