Cabinet members set out budget proposals for 2024/25 while protecting the most vulnerable in our community and tackling a significant rise in costs and demand for services.
In common with local authorities across the country, the Council is facing financial pressures due to a range of factors including the current economic climate, inflation rates and a rise in demand for services, particularly around supporting children in care and vulnerable adults.
However, given these pressures, the authority is proposing to deliver a balanced revenue budget for 2024/25 of £889.5m (£414.5m excluding dedicated Schools Grant).
The budget was presented to Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday and follows a six-week public consultation which allowed residents, businesses, partners and other stakeholders to review and provide feedback on the proposals. It has also been subject to continuous review and scrutiny, including consideration by the cross-party group of members of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The proposals seek to raise the average Council Tax by 4.99%, which is in line with the Government’s allowance, generating extra funding of around £13.1m – with 2% of the increase going towards funding adult social care and represents an increase on a Band D property of £84.52 a year, the equivalent of £1.63 a week.
The budget follows a strong commitment to making services as efficient as possible and reviewing income streams in order to maintain and protect services, with £24.1m of savings proposals put forward.
These will be found through savings in operating costs and includes restructuring departments, introducing back-office savings without impacting on how services are delivered to residents.
Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “In the face of severe financial pressures, rising costs and the continuing increase in demand for services, such as those supporting vulnerable adults and children, putting this budget together has been extremely challenging and we’ve faced some really tough choices. However, despite these pressures, we have still managed to protect services and there are no service reductions contained within these budget plans which I believe is a great achievement.
“Every decision we’ve made, every penny we’ve allocated, has been with you, our residents, in mind.
“Balancing the budget hasn’t been easy, but it’s necessary to ensure we can continue to provide the vital services our community relies on.
“We’ve therefore focused hard on how we can save more money and raise extra income to address inflationary pressures and cover the increasing costs of high service demand. Your needs are at the forefront of everything we do. We’re dedicated to finding ways to ease the burden and ensure that our community thrives, even in challenging times.”
At their meeting, Cabinet members agreed to recommend the final 2024/25 budget to next week’s Full Council, which will take place in Northampton’s Guildhall on Thursday, 22 February at 5pm. The agenda will be published this week on the Council’s website.
West Northamptonshire Council Communications Team