Spending plans 2019-20

The level of council tax

Council tax is the main source of locally-raised income for this council and is used to meet the difference between the amount we wish to spend and the amount we receive from other sources such as business rates and government grants. In setting the level of council tax payable, the council cabinet has kept in mind the difficult economic and financial climate that many of our residents face. On the other hand, our funding from central government has dropped sharply in the period 2010 to 2019, and future funding levels are uncertain. We have to consider what level of increase in council tax is sustainable, without creating an increased risk of service cuts and/or larger tax increases in the future. The average council tax you will pay for services provided by us is £209.08 for a band D taxpayer. This is an increase of £6.07 over last year, equating to 12 pence per week.

Service delivery

We want to continue to deliver high quality services to residents, protecting front line services with the reduced funding available. We have a challenging funding gap of around £1.93 million in 2019-20 as a result of increased costs, the continued impact of low interest rates on investment income and reductions in government funding. We're continuing to review alternative methods of delivery of services with some services being provided through partnership and shared working arrangements, reducing costs and creating efficiencies of service. We're also reviewing our internal services, to ensure they are delivered efficiently.

We expect to employ 214.8 full time equivalent staff in 2019-20 compared with 214 in 2018-19.

We've used a contribution from the Budget Strategy (Support) reserve of £256,000 to support the budget in 2019-20. This is a temporary arrangement to give us time to deliver our strategy of planned substantial savings over the next 4 year period. You can find full details of the savings and additional income in our 2019-20 budget setting papers from February 2019.

To sustain our finances over the long term we also need to find new opportunities to generate income and invest in projects which provide good financial returns. Our commercial strategy is closely linked to other key strategies including:

  • place-making
  • economic growth
  • digital transformation
  • workforce and skills development
  • investment and asset management

These strategies show that, as a council, we have entered a new era of business enterprise, growth and innovation.  We will work with partners who share our ambition and values and will continue to put the best interests of Cheltenham residents at the heart of everything we do.

Working together to plan for Cheltenham’s future

A formal budget consultation took place during December 2018 and January 2019. Interested parties including businesses, tenants, residents, staff and trade unions were encouraged to comment on the budget proposals.

Spending plans 2019-20
 

2018-19

Amount (£)

2019-20

Amount (£)

Funds needed by area:    
Chief executive 1,724,000 1,709,000
Finance and assets directorate 6,262,000 9,326,000
People and change directorate 2,498,000 3,593,000
Place and growth directorate 7,231,000 6,091,000
Totals a gross expenditure requirement of: 17,733,000 20,719,000
     
Less:    
Financing and investment income and expenditure -1,650,000 -2,758,000
Capital charges -1,475,000 -2,960,000
Use of balances and reserves -179,000 -170,000
Net spending 14,429,000 14,831,000
     
Financed by:    
Government grants -1,749,000 -1,469,000
Business rates -4,033,000 -4,335,00
Collection fund -172,000 -110,000
     
Which leaves a council tax requirement of: 8,475,000 8,917,000

How our budget compares with last year

Budget comparison
  Amount (£)
Net spending 2018-19 14,429,000
Less savings and additional income found -1,980,000
Plus improvements and new services 10,000
Plus increased service costs 1,760,000
Less income from investments and grants -398,000
Plus reserves/other 1,010,000
Totals a net spending requirement for 2019-20 of: 14,831,000

Further information

For further information on the budget including a full list of improved services and savings please contact financial services on 01242 775 033.

Read the full breakdown of the budget.