Published on 24th February 2012

White piggy bank with black flower design

Local residents have helped to create Cheltenham Borough Council’s budget for next year, 2012/13.

The final budget – which was approved at full council on Friday – will save £1.115m, but frontline services will be protected.

The government will cut ongoing support to the council by a further £534k in 2012/13. No front-line services are being cut and other proposals which were passed include:

  • Council tax freeze
  • Staff pay freeze
  • No growth in levels of service, except for taxi marshalls and tree maintenance
  • Increased income budgets based on an average of 2.5 per cent
  • Continued promotion of shared services with other local authorities in the area to reduce long term expenditure and increase service resilience
  • Creation of Ubico, a new company to provide waste services for Cotswold and Cheltenham councils
  • Reducing expenditure on some services by changing the way they are done and making them more efficient
  • Actively managing vacancies and staffing levels to minimise impact of service reviews resulting in a proposed 4.9 FTE (full time equivalents) reduction
  • Amendment to allowances (car user allowance)
  • Reduction in grant funding (Everyman, Performing Arts Society)
  • Review of allotment service
  • Renegotiation of Regent Arcade lease
  • Use of income from New Homes Bonus to protect services
  • Investing in the town's infrastructure supporting GCC in repaving of the promenade and funding works to St Mary’s churchyard and Grosvenor Terrace car park.

The income from council tax is split three ways. About 13 per cent of the total council tax paid by local residents goes to Cheltenham Borough Council. The rest goes to Gloucestershire County Council and the Police Authority. The borough council’s amount of council tax proposed for next year is £187.12 a year for a band D property.

Councillor John Webster, cabinet member for finance said: “We have managed to balance the budget again this year without significant cuts and with a zero council tax increase. We are continuing our work with young people and allocating more funds that community groups and businesses can bid for to improve the environment and promote the town. However, there has to be serious concern for the future “

Mark Sheldon, director of resources, said: “We have been preparing for budget reductions for some time as part of the medium term financial strategy. Much work has been done to bridge the gap and create efficiencies. The budget proposals are the result of the sheer hard work of the employees, for which we are grateful, who have worked with the cabinet to minimise, as far as possible, the impact on staff and front line services.”