04/01/23: District council sets out plans for 2023/24 budget

Councillors are set to discuss draft plans for Breckland Council's next annual budget and residents are being invited to share their views too.

At a meeting of the district council's Cabinet on 9 January, members will discuss the proposed budget for 2023/24. The draft budget being put forward is balanced, meaning the amount the council intends to spend is around the same as the income it expects to receive.

The new budget, which when finalised will be in place from April 2023, proposes the council makes no cuts to any of its core services.

In addition, Breckland Council continues to set aside funding for ongoing support for some of Breckland's most vulnerable residents. This includes extending the existing Breckland Mobile Food Store (or 'Food Bus'), which brings affordable food to rural locations.

It also includes continuing the partnership with the Daisy Programme, a local charity which supports people who have experienced domestic abuse.

The budget includes money to deliver the planned extension of the existing leisure centre in Attleborough and progressing plans to also improve the leisure offer in Swaffham.

If approved, the draft budget sets aside funding for continued work to tackle climate change, including delivering initiatives that will make the council a net-zero carbon emissions organisation by 2035.

Provisions have also been made for continued business support, which is expected to include a centrally-funded discount for local retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates, increasing the relief from 50% in 2022/23 to 75% in 2023/24.

At the Cabinet meeting, councillors will hear that the council expects to be able to deliver these initiatives and balance the budget if it increases annual district council tax by £4.95 for a band D property in 2023/24.

For a typical Band D property in Breckland, that equates to around £109 per year in district council tax, paying for services such as bin collections, assessing planning applications, licensing, and housing support. However, most people in the district would see a smaller rise in district council tax, as around 75% of houses are in bands A-C, which pay lower tax rates.

Cllr Phil Cowen, Breckland Council's Executive Member for Finance Revenue and Benefits, is set to present the draft budget for discussion at the meeting on 9 January. "Despite the incredible pressure on public spending and the rising cost of living expenses we're all facing, Breckland Council is proposing a balanced budget with no cuts to core services, along with investment in key areas," he said.

Members of the public are being invited to comment on the draft budget proposals as part of a consultation which runs until 22 January. Comments from the public and members of the council will be taken into consideration before the finalised budget is presented to the members of Full Council for discussion in February.

For more information about the budget proposals and how to take part in the consultation, visit www.breckland.gov.uk/info/consultations or visit the council's offices in Dereham or Thetford.

Last updated: 04/01/2023 16:14:53