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Craven District Council agrees budget for 2016-17

Craven District Council has approved a fully funded and balanced Revenue Budget of £7,876,000 for 2016/17.

The full council voted in favour of the proposed budget at a meeting on February 25, 2016.

The recommended budget will be funded by the council's projected revenues and a contribution from the council's reserves. The council will maintain a General Fund Balance of £995k for unforeseen outgoings.

Councillors voted to increase council tax at Band D by £5 per year, to £157.21 for the district council portion of the bill. This equates to a rise of around 3.3 per cent or just 10p per week.

Council tax has been frozen for five years in a row but the Government has removed the Council Tax Freeze Grant this year. The overall Revenue Support Grant from the Government for the council is £697,400, a reduction of 38% from 2015/16, a loss in cash terms of £432,000. The Government has signalled it is intending to reduce RSG to zero by April 2019.

Councillor Richard Foster, Leader of the Council said: "This was a difficult decision to make but we are facing severe funding cuts as support from Central Government is being drastically reduced.

"Here in Craven our Revenue Support Grant has been reduced by 38% from 2015/16, a loss in cash terms of £432,000. The Government has announced some extra help for those councils particularly badly hit, but we still face severe funding cuts over the next few years.

"We are proud that we have managed to freeze council tax for the last five years, but we felt that increasing it this year was the best option, so we can continue to support and serve our communities.

"An increase of 10p per week is a very small amount for residents but it will make a big difference to the council as a whole.

"Craven District Council will continue to deliver excellent value for money for residents, who pay an average of just £3 per week for all the services we provide.

"We have made significant savings of £154,000 over the last year; a cumulative savings total of £973,000. We continue to look for ways to cut costs and increase income wherever possible.

"We are pleased we have been able to put forward a robust and balanced budget, given the enormous pressures facing local government."

Craven District Council tax makes up less than 10 per cent of the total council tax bill. This equates to £3 per week for district council services for an average Band D property. Other parties (the county council, police, fire service and parishes) set their own rates for their proportion and this is collected on their behalf by CDC.

Where does your council tax go?

council tax pie chart

As part of the budget setting process the council has confirmed that it would continue to provide assistance to parishes and so for 2016/17 the Budget also includes £18,000 of grant funding to parishes. The assistance for parishes will reduce in line with the reduction in the council's revenue support grant from central government.

There will be no increase in car parking charges for the fifth year in a row (held again at 2011/12 rates). The council has developed an income and savings plan to assist it in focusing on the projects that it needs to implement to address the reductions in Government Support. Savings achieved in 2015/16 equate to £154k for 2016/17 and this is included within the budget.

As well as maintaining the General Fund Balance at £995k, the Budget makes provision for contributions to specific reserves of 1,128k, with £901k allocated to the New Homes Bonus Reserve. Contributions from reserves which will depend on the level of council tax set will be up to a total of £2,108k meaning a net contribution from reserves of up to £980k.