Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council launches public consultation for 2024/25 budget
The new cabinet at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has published its first budget plan to go out for public consultation.
The cabinet – which was elected in May and consists of Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors – set out its plans for the budget, which will fund its services from April 2024, last month.
The plans include an additional £750,000 to keep the borough’s streets and open spaces clean and well-maintained, £180,000 more to improve play areas and £165,000 to drive forward the delivery of affordable housing to tackle the borough’s growing housing register.
The new budget proposals also contain plans for more investment to support the borough’s community and voluntary sector, additional funding to maintain natural areas and freezing the cost of bulky waste collections and replacement waste bins, among other things.
To fund this, an average 10p per week council tax increase is proposed, bringing the borough’s part of the council tax up to £141.42 a year for the average household.
Alongside this, charges for additional services the council provides, such as car parking, would go up by an average of three per cent to reflect the rising costs to deliver these services.
Council co-leader Gavin James (Lib Dem, Eastrop and Grove) said: “We are living in an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis and continue to grapple with high inflation so the cost of delivering our services and the demand we are seeing for them continues to go up.
“Despite having to make some difficult decisions, it is a big achievement that we have been able to put forward a balanced budget for the next two years, as part of our first budget since forming the cabinet in May.
“We are going beyond what many other councils can do by investing even more money to improve the services that we know matter most to our residents.”
Conservative councillors have criticised the new cabinet’s budget plans, stating that they will increase the council’s total costs by nearly 7.5 per cent and result in the council having a deficit of £5.76m by 2027.
Councillor John Izett (Con, Evingar) said, “I’m sure many residents will question the new council leadership’s priorities.
“At a time when 71 per cent of people surveyed nationally say that making ends meet is at the top of the list, this council plans to increase council tax to help fund employing more staff to deliver services that 67 per cent of our residents say are already satisfactory.
“We froze council tax last year and we launched the £1m Basingstoke cost-of-living assistance fund for hard-pressed residents.
“Why isn’t the new cabinet focusing on directly helping these residents and their families?
“I am concerned that this council’s finances are now no longer in safe hands.”
A public consultation has been launched for the proposed 2024/25 budget and it can be viewed at https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/budget2024
The deadline for comments on the council’s budget proposals is January 3.