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Bedford Borough Council Sets Out Spending Plans

Bedford Borough Council’s Executive is set to consider Budget proposals for 2020 -2021 as it seeks to provide a balanced budget in the face of continued funding challenges and increased demand for services.

The Budget 2020/21 sets out how the Council will deliver vital day-to-day frontline services for local residents. From providing support and care for vulnerable adults and children, collecting the bins, maintaining roads and pavements, supporting local libraries, to keeping our parks looking beautiful, the Council provides vital services across the Borough.

The proposals put forward look at the funding provided for these important services, and at how the council will tackle challenges such as increasing costs, an ageing population and greater demand for its services.

The Council is committed to providing a budget that provides the services residents and businesses expect, safeguards the most vulnerable, while working to keep council tax down with an increase of 1.85% proposed for next year.

With increasing demand for social care for vulnerable adults, a growing elderly population and more people needing support for complex needs, Adults Services continues to take up the largest part of the Council’s spending. Approximately 40% of the proposed total 2020/21 Budget of £132million is set to be spent on Adults Services. To help fund this care, the proposals include applying the government’s Adult Social Care precept of 2% to Council Tax this year.

Together the proposals would mean an increase of less than £5 a month over the year for an average Band D property, or a total increase of £58.04.

This meeting of the Executive will also be considering the Council’s ongoing investment in capital projects. This is different to the revenue Budget, as it covers one-off investment in schemes and projects to improve the Borough rather than ongoing spend to provide services.

The capital programme includes investment in new schools and classrooms, new transport infrastructure and more emergency accommodation for people facing homelessness.

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough, said: “Despite an ongoing financial challenge, this budget protects frontline services and facilities, provides the money needed to care for the elderly and vulnerable, and keeps council tax down.”

Cllr Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance says “This proposed Budget sets out our plans to deliver much-needed services across Bedford Borough. As demand for adult social care increases and care packages become more complex and expensive, we have to find ways to provide this vital care and support while continuing to deliver day-to-day services that local residents rightly expect from their council.

“We are continuing to invest in becoming more efficient as an organisation enabling us to save money in the back office so that we can continue to protect frontline services.”

If agreed by Executive on Wednesday 22 January, these reports will go to a meeting of the Bedford Borough Full Council on Wednesday 5 February.