Thanet District Council has approved the budget for the coming financial year, April 2023 – March 2024, at a Full Council meeting held tonight (Thursday 9 February).
Councillors agreed to the recommendations around financing the huge range of public services provided and spending on new proposals; and on ways that all this can be financed.
The council has a statutory obligation to deliver a balanced budget each year. The budget funds the services the council provides to residents, communities and businesses throughout the year and follows Cabinet approval on Thursday 26 January.
At the meeting, Councillors also approved the fees and charges for the next financial year – which will see the charges the council makes for some of its services increase by 10%.
An amendment to remove the planned increase in charges for resident and visitor permits, resulting in charges being frozen at their 2022/23 level, was approved.
Cllr David Saunders, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “I’m very pleased we’ve delivered a balanced budget for the year ahead. Everyone involved has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to get to the position we are in now. My thanks go to all who have contributed to this process.
“Despite what may seem like a lengthy and complicated process, this level of planning is of critical importance. It’s how we continue to deliver the services that matter to people and protect and support our most vulnerable residents.
“The approved budget increases our net spending on local services by £3.5m (or 19.6%) for the financial year. This is a really significant increase. The district council faces the same cost increases as everyone else on fuel, transport and pay, and this has to be funded.
“In addition to the increased cost of delivering services, the wider difficult economic climate means that demand for some key services, most notably temporary accommodation for homeless people, is rising. Providing a safety net for people who have nowhere to live is one of the most important things we do, but it is demand-driven and costs are rising.
“I am also proud that we will be investing in some of the council’s key services, which make a difference to local people, for example on improved CCTV, recruiting coastal enforcement officers and more money for coastal cleansing.
“Despite the fact that inflation is running at around 10%, our core funding has only increased by 5.8% and the council is only allowed to increase Council Tax by a maximum of 3%.
“Therefore we’ve needed to maximise our local income, so that we can improve and provide quality services for local people. We’ll be doing this by maximising key income streams and charging for services which are only used by a limited proportion of residents. As such, our strategy has been to apply a broad 10% increase to fees and charges where possible, which is expected to generate additional income of £610,000 for next year’s budget. I’d like to thank members of the cross-party Cabinet Advisory Group and to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for their input into this process.”
Approval of the budget will see plans to invest more in the council’s property portfolio to increase income the council earns from its property assets.
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 and parish councils.
For 2023/24, Thanet’s share of the Council Tax will increase by 2.99%. This is the equivalent of a £7.42 increase each year for a Band D property – or an extra 14p per week.