Council approves budget amid financial challenges

Published Tuesday 23 February 2021

Harborough District Council has approved its budget as it looks to tackle significant financial challenges over the year ahead.

Harborough District Council approved its budget, on 22 February 2021, which includes an increase in the district council’s share of Council tax of £5 a year, per Band D household.

The Council needs to address an annual budget gap of around £4million as a result of increasing demand for services, reductions in Government grant, and unavoidable cost increases.

The Council has also lost significant revenue, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has had to provide services in new and innovative ways, with a service cost to the Council of approximately £2.4m. Whilst this cost has been partly met by direct government support, a deficit to the Council of nearly £600,000 (£575k) remains. In addition, the Council is estimating that net losses from the collection of business rates will be £1.5m; although the Government is permitting the Council to spread this cost over the next three years.

In response; the Council’s ongoing Budget Challenge 2025 (BC25) is aiming to ‘transform’ services, identify savings in all Council service areas, and generate long-term income to boost financial sustainability and resilience.

Cllr james hallam conCouncillor James Hallam (pictured), Harborough District Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet lead for finance, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who took part in our budget consultation; the feedback has informed our budget discussions. Whilst we, like many other councils, face huge challenges; we are confident that this budget will begin to address this significant financial gap. We are working across the Council to find ways to work more innovatively and efficiently to ensure we can continue to provide high quality services for our residents.”

In February, the Council’s Cabinet approved an increase to pay and display charges at all Council-owned car parks in the Harborough district – the first rise since 2017 – to allow the Council to continue to maintain car parks to a high standard and provide other essential services.

An increase to the garden waste collection service subscriptions was also agreed, earlier in the year, to £55 per year per bin.

The Council said it will continue with its Capital Programme, over the next four years, which will see significant investment into new local projects. It will also invest in ICT to improve services for customers, as well as CCTV, disabled facilities grants, housing and homelessness schemes, leisure, open spaces and play areas.