Cheshire East grant - chief executive appointed

Cheshire East Council is proposing to increase Council Tax for thousands of residents by 1.99% for the next four years.

The authority says the proposal is necessary because of increased demand for vital services.

The Government is also expecting local authorities to increase Council Tax by a further 1% in 2022 to contribute to adult social care.

That would take the 2022-23 increase to 2.99%, and possibly future years.

Residents are being asked their views as part of a public consultation before plans are rubber-stamped in February.

The council’s budget consultation sets out service proposals and financial plans for the period from April 1 2022 through to March 31 2023.

The council spends around £700 million a year with an annual net revenue budget of around £321 million.

This is around £16 per week for every resident living in the borough.

The budget is funded from taxes paid by households and businesses, and some general government grants.

Cllr Amanda Stott, Cheshire East Council chair for the sub-finance committee, said: “The financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been huge.

“The council, like every other local authority, is having to deal with unprecedented financial pressures due to increasing demand particularly in social care and our statutory duties to protect our most vulnerable residents.

“The proposals show a balanced four-year budget to deliver the council’s corporate plan priorities.

“It also outlines significant financial challenges that the council must tackle over the next year, including rapidly rising demand and costs for adult social care and those that are a result of the ongoing pandemic.

“Council tax only raises around one third of the money needed to fund the hundreds of local services we provide across Cheshire East.

“Council tax thresholds will remain at similar levels to recent years, with the increases remaining at 1.99%.

“There is also an expectation from government that some demand growth in adult social care will be funded by a further annual precept of 1%.

“Final confirmation of the threshold limits will be announced by government in December.

“But for the purpose of presenting these budget estimates we have increased council tax in each year by 2.99% to manage ongoing demand for services.

“The council wants to listen to all feedback on this consultation before coming to any final recommendation about how best to balance the funding we receive from government and locally raised income, with the rising demand for the services we deliver.

“Our draft budget prioritises critical frontline services and economic investment and, our ongoing recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We will continue to redesign and transform some services to ensure maximum efficiency while protecting the most vulnerable, supporting our businesses and growing our local economy through this time of unprecedented financial challenge.

“I would strongly urge everyone to play their part, now more than ever before.

“We need to hear your views on our draft budget proposals, so we get an understanding of the priorities and aspirations for our services and local community.”

The council is inviting opinions and views from residents, businesses, councillors, staff, town and parish councils, local community groups and other stakeholders.

Feedback received will be used to inform the budget setting process.

Visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/BudgetEngagement

The budget consultation runs until January 4, 2022.

Budget proposals will be updated before a final budget is agreed by full council on February 24.

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