Public consultation on Scarborough Council's upcoming budget as it looks to make £3million in savings

A public consultation is set to be held on Scarborough Council’s budget for the coming year as the authority looks to make more than £3 million in savings.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 12:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 12:57 pm

As part of its draft revenue budget for 2020/21 the borough authority, which makes up around 13% of a resident’s council tax bill, is proposing to increase its share of the precept by £5 a year for a Band D property, a rise of around 2.1%.

It would bring the total paid to Scarborough Council by borough residents in a Band D property to £239.75.

Once the contributions to North Yorkshire County Council, which makes up 70% of a council tax bill, North Yorkshire Police and Fire Service and the social care precept have been set a total bill for a Band D property will come to more than £1,900 for the year.

Stock image: JPI Media

At a meeting of the authority’s cabinet today Scarborough Council leader Cllr Steve Siddons said it was important to find out the public’s priorities.

He said: “The public have a view about what is important to them and we want to recognise that through our consultation.”

The cabinet heard from the council’s director of finance Nick Edwards that a planned funding review of local authorities by the Government, that was expected to hit Scarborough’s funding hard, had been pushed back by a year due to Brexit and the general election, giving the council what Mr Edwards called “a slight reprieve”.

He said: “I do deliver a note of caution, while we are in a situation where we have a slight reprieve while still having to make funding cuts [the anticipated reductions in funding] will come back knocking on our door next year when the whole funding situation gets changed.”

Mr Edwards added that since 2010/11 the council’s government funding had been reduced by 66%. By the end of 2022/23 it is anticipated that the council’s funding will be £2.6m, down from £12.5m in 2010/11.

Since 2010 the council has delivered savings of £21m from its annual revenue budget in order to balance its books.

A report by Mr Edwards, prepared for today’s meeting, showed that despite the reprieve, major savings were still identified.

He wrote: “The projections show that, subject to the levels of funding cuts applied as a result of the Fair Funding Review, savings of £6.674m will need to be identified from the current annual revenue budget to balance the funding gap over the period to 2023.

“The proposed savings for the 2020/21 year total £3.096m.”

Just over £1.7m in savings will come from a “greater than anticipated financial returns on the North Yorkshire Pension Fund” following a re-evaluation of the fund last year.

The budget will need to be approved by the full council later this year following the consultation.

Other proposed changes include the council tax premium on properties that have been empty and unfurnished for more than five years will increase from 100% to 200% for the 2020/21 year onwards and the premium on properties that have been empty and unfurnished for more than 10 years will increase from 100% to 300% from April 1 2021.