Bedford Borough Council says budget proposals will protect services and keep council tax down Image: Bedford Borough Council

Cut in Council’s government grant 

Bedford Borough Council has published budget proposals it says will protect key services and keep council tax down for hard-pressed local taxpayers.

The proposed budget has no closures of key facilities or services, and has additional support for the vulnerable.

Borough Mayor, Dave Hodgson said:

“This is a budget that once again saves services and keeps council tax down.

“Our rigorous financial management has enabled us to protect services that have so commonly been lost elsewhere, and this budget will enable us to keep up this record.”

Budget highlights include:

  • No closures of libraries, despite another 127 branches closed across the country last year
  • Below-inflation core council tax increase of 1.49%
  • £2.9m additional funding for adult social care services, supporting the most vulnerable in our communities.
  • Cultural And leisure facilities and services protected.
  • Protecting subsidised bus routes
  • No closures of children’s centres
  • Funding for five new sets of average speed cameras, to be installed where local communities want them

The Council’s main government grant has reduced from £30m in 2015 down to under £6m in the coming year. The Mayor said:

“Government funding cuts have been utterly brutal, and they are ongoing.

“With extra support for the vulnerable and the retention of key services, this budget is designed to protect local residents from the impact of those government cuts.”

In addition to the core council tax precept increase of 1.49%, there will also be a 1% adult social care precept, which the government introduced instead of providing the additional funding that councils need to care for the ageing population.

The proposed budget will be considered by the Council’s Executive on Wednesday 23rd January, and will then go forward to Full Council on February 6th.