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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > February 2010 > Green and Lean Budget

Green and Lean Budget For Bedford Borough

Bedford Borough Council has agreed its budget for the forthcoming financial year. A robust approach has resulted in a rise of just 2.3% in council tax while safeguarding frontline services, protecting the environment and supporting the local economy.

Despite the threat of a large scale increase, brought about by the economic situation (such as reduced land charge fees, planning fees and investment income) and demographic factors, the council was able to reduce the level of increase from an earlier forecast of 11.5%. To achieve this a stringent review of the new unitary authority’s services was carried out to identify ways that it could save money and keep council tax as low as possible without reducing the services it provides. As part of the budget process £9 million of efficiency savings have been found. This has included savings on rented offices, reviewing and reducing the council’s capital programme and cutting back on non-front line council spending, including office supplies.

New areas that have been added to the council’s base budget include:

  • Funding for Street Rangers
  • Environmental enforcement,
  • Extra funding for recycling
  • Support for the Town Centre
  • Funding For Bedford River Festival

Commenting, Mayor of Bedford Borough Dave Hodgson said: "Since I was elected in October with the forecast council tax increase standing at 11.5 per cent, my clear priority has been to work with Finance Portfolio Holder Michael Headley and the rest of my Cabinet to produce a budget which ensures full value for every penny of local taxpayers' money while protecting front line services. I can reassure residents that no stone has been left unturned in our drive to identify efficiency savings in order that residents' priorities are protected.

The council is committed to creating a clean and green borough and this budget supports a number of environmental initiatives amongst a package of new measures. At the same time the proposed Council tax has been slashed from that predicted 11.5% figure down to just over two per cent, thanks to a relentless drive to identify savings and extract full value for local residents from their council tax.”
Cllr Michael Headley, Finance Portfolio Holder added:

" This budget represents weeks and months spent challenging all parts of the Council to make sure there is a real need for every item of expenditure. Against an extremely tough background we identified £9 million of savings whilst safeguarding the council’s front line services.
We will not stop here however. We are committed to keeping down council tax and ensuring the council operates as efficiently as possible and I will be working with the Mayor and colleagues across the council to achieve this."

The budget was agreed at the Full Council meeting on Wednesday 3rd February and will come into effect from April 1st 2010. The rise is equivalent to an extra £0.57 per week for an average Band D property.

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