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  • Writer's pictureNEMM

Melton Borough Council to consider budget proposals

Melton Borough Council is once again looking at setting a balanced budget and protecting resources for key priorities for the year ahead, which the Council says has been a significant challenge in the current financial climate.

The Council will formally consider its Council Tax for 2022/2023 at the meeting of the Council on 24th February 2022.

The proposed budget for 2022/2023 has been carefully prepared based on the priorities set out within the Council’s approved Corporate Strategy 2020-2024 and takes into account the implications of COVID-19 as the country looks to move to recovering from the pandemic.

Melton Borough Council's Parkside offices. Photo: Google.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on both increased expenditure, to support priority community and business needs, and lost income during the current financial year.

The additional expenditure has only been partly met through government grants, with the covid financial impact in 2021/2022 expected to be around £440,000. Therefore, the council say, it has been necessary for the Council to robustly monitor its income and expenditure, focusing on priority areas to be able to manage its finances.

Whilst a balanced budget has been proposed, the potential for additional expenditure to support the impact of the pandemic and the recovery from it remains, along with the risk of reduced income. Despite the financial pressures, the proposed budget not only protects existing commitments and services it provides for ongoing investment in key areas, including climate change, and additional funding is also being proposed to investigate the feasibility of identifying new long term cemetery provision for Melton.

Cllr Ronnie de Burle, Portfolio holder for Corporate Finance and Resources said: “The Council has continued to manage its finances well against a background of reduced government grants and responding to the impact of COVID-19. We have received additional government funding for the coming financial year, which is very welcome, and I am pleased that again the council is able to invest in priority areas such as climate change, housing and asset maximisation.

“Looking at future years, we continue to face a shortfall in funding and also uncertainty around the outcome of the fairer funding review, which sets out how councils are funded. We remain continuously committed to investing in our priorities and supporting the community. We shall be working with officers to deliver the savings and efficiencies required to balance the budget in the coming years whilst maintaining those priority services to our community.”

The proposed budget allows for an overall increase in Council Tax of £5 per annum across all council funds, in line with the Government’s referendum limit.

Even with the changes in Council Tax, the council is still facing at a shortfall in funding in future years.

In recognition of this shortfall and the need to continually review the service offer against borough priorities and value for money, a Financial Sustainability Programme will continue to be developed.

This will continue to explore a range of areas where the council can generate income or save money through efficiencies to ensure vital public services and local priorities can be delivered. Key areas of focus will be service transformation, collaboration with other councils and asset development and regeneration.

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