Cabinet members are to consider the significant impact of COVID-19 on the council’s finances when they meet on Thursday 14 January.
This forms part of the annual budget setting process for the financial year ahead, 2021-22.
The budget is agreed at the same time annually in order to set the coming year’s Council Tax for the residents of Thanet and to meet the council’s legal obligation to produce a balanced budget. In order to achieve this, Cabinet will consider a £4.99 or 2.1% increase per year for Thanet District Council’s element of Council Tax for a Band D property. This equates to a weekly increase of less than 10p per week.
The Budget Report sets out how the council proposes to allocate £17.165m to fund services for the next 12 months (April 2021 – March 2022). This will ensure that resources are targeted to the areas that matter most to local people.
Proposals to address a budget gap of £840,000 will be considered. The options set out are mainly internal management of budgets and will have minimal impact upon frontline public services for residents.
An overspend, substantially caused by Covid-related factors, of £1.7m for the current financial year (2020-21) will also be reviewed within the Budget Monitoring report. This is proposed to be covered through the use of reserves and represents an improvement over the previous forecast of a £3m overspend.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Rob Yates, said: “Protecting the services that matter most to local people is a key part of our consideration when we meet to review the proposed budget next week. We’ve seen a substantial impact on our budget as a result of COVID-19 and our priority has rightly been on the immediate coordinated response to support our residents and businesses.
“Delivering a balanced budget is key and thanks to robust financial management we will be considering a range of options which ensure we can achieve this position whilst limiting the impact as far as possible on local services. These are unprecedented times and the level of challenge on the Council’s Finances is immense, not least considering the significant reduction in funding we’ve seen in recent years from the Government. We will continue to do all we can to protect critical public services and support the local community during this pandemic.”
The money that is used to fund public services is made up of Council Tax receipts, income generation including from fees and charges, retained Business Rates and Government funding (including Revenue Support Grant and New Homes Bonus).
Thanet District Council receives just 12p in every £1 of Council Tax. The remainder goes to: Kent County Council, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Town/Parish Councils.
If approved, the budget will then be considered at a full Council meeting in February.