At the Full Council Meeting of Surrey Heath Borough Council on February 26, Members set the budget and Council Tax for 2020/21.
In December 2019 the Government announced that it would be providing no general grant for Council services delivered by SHBC, continuing the pattern of recent years.
This means 100% of the cost of services delivered by the Council is now raised locally through Council Tax, Business Rates, Rents and Charges.
Under the current arrangements only 11% of Council Tax and 4% of Business Rates collected locally by SHBC stay with the Council – the remainder goes to Surrey County Council (around 75% of Council Tax) and Surrey Police (around 13% of Council Tax).
Over the last 10 years the Council has lost £2.7m in government funding, yet the demand for and range of services provided by the Council has increased.
Service cuts have been avoided due to greater efficiency through technology, reductions in staff, collaboration with other councils and organisations, increases in fees and investment in property.
Property is budgeted to contribute £1.4m towards services in the coming financial year after all costs such as interest and loan repayments have been taken in to account.
The Council’s decision to acquire property also supports regeneration and the local economy.
The Council is under a legal duty to deliver a balanced budget, which was presented to Full Council.
This means that Council Tax has to be increased if cuts are to be avoided. Residents will be asked to pay an additional £5 a year on the SHBC element of the bill for a Band D taxpayer, taking that total to £223.66. This equates to an increase of just under 10p per week.
SHBC Leader, Cllr Alan McClafferty said: “SHBC delivers vital services from the Council Tax that residents pay. Of course, the Council will continue to drive efficiencies, work with partners and generate income, and I’m certain our residents will support the £5 per annum increase to help preserve services that residents value, and the most vulnerable members of our society rely on.”