Cheltenham approves budget to boost local economy and tackle climate change
Published on 26th February 2021
Ambitious recovery budget proposals for 2021/22 have been overwhelmingly supported at full council this week (22 February 2021).
The proposals focus on a recovery that offers opportunities for jobs growth, investment, sustainable communities and tackling the climate emergency.
Cllr Steve Jordan, cabinet member finance and assets, said: ‘’I’m pleased that the council has agreed this budget which means Cheltenham is well placed despite the challenges of COVID-19.
“The proposals will ensure that we continue to invest in local services, tackle climate change, support economic growth in our town particularly with the continued impact of the pandemic, and support residents - whilst continuing our commitment to becoming the Cyber Capital of the UK, which is critical to ensuring job growth and economic prosperity for the people and communities of Cheltenham. All this comes with a Council Tax rise of less than 10p a week for a Band D property.’’
Key proposals include:
The Golden Valley Development - home of Cyber Central UK which sets a vision for a campus style development focused around innovation in the cyber sector, driving forward the UK’s mission to be a science superpower and global lead in cyber security. It also seeks to deliver up to 4,000 homes, directly contributing to another council priority regarding housing delivery and achieving a target of 40% affordable homes.
Carbon neutrality - a renewed commitment to becoming a net zero carbon council and borough by 2030, will allow the council to play its part in a collective national effort to rebuild. The budget proposals provide an additional funding for climate emergency initiatives on top of the funding already allocated
Economic development - a key priority within the recovery strategy to revitalise and reshape the economy. The council aims to encourage collaboration across sectors to ensure that culture, hospitality and creativity are interweaved into its economic recovery plans particularly in enhancing the cyber investment plans, supporting the creative revitalisation of the High Street, and the imaginative use of local open spaces.
The £5.2 million flagship scheme in the heart of Cheltenham town centre, known as the Minster Innovation Exchange, forms a huge part of realising this ambition. The budget proposes an additional £75,000 to ensure permanent resource is available to lead on recovery.
Increasing apprenticeships - Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the UK’s employment, and young people have been hardest hit. The council is committed to invest in the future of apprenticeships this budget will see an additional £75,000 which will provide for a cohort of apprentices who will commence employment at the council in September 2021.
Council tax – increase of 2.34% for the Cheltenham Borough Council element of council tax in 2021/22.
At this meeting, council also agreed the overall level of council tax, taking into account the requirements of Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner. For a Band D property the annual county council increase is £63.90 or 4.75% while the police element is £12.83 or 4.99%.
Further information can be found at www.cheltenham.gov.uk.
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