The final budget for 2021/2022 for North Northamptonshire Council is set to be considered by the Shadow Authority’s Executive Committee this week.
In papers published following a seven-week consultation period, the council is presenting a balanced budget on a total net revenue spend of £292.5million.
Final recommendations include a Council Tax increase of 4.99 per cent, comprising 1.99 per cent core precept and a 3 per cent adult social care precept. This would represent a Band D level of Council Tax of £1,532.90 in 2021/22, or the equivalent of £29.48 per week.
Council leaders are emphasising that this first budget for the shadow authority presents a fresh start for their residents with the new authority providing all local government services in the north of the county including adult social care, housing and economic regeneration, leisure, tourism and waste disposal and collection.
The council recognises that the work of the voluntary sector has been invaluable in supporting the residents and communities of North Northamptonshire throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. It also acknowledges that the voluntary sector is often best placed to work with residents and with this in mind it proposes to establish a £200k a year fund over the next three years to support the sector, which will sit alongside other payments.
Cllr Russell Roberts, Leader of the Shadow Authority, said: “This is a fresh start for North Northamptonshire Council and I’m confident that we can build on the great work that has already been started to transform and improve services.
“Local government reorganisation is absolutely right for Northamptonshire and the benefits of creating two new councils in the county are huge and will benefit everyone in the long term.”
Cllr Ian Jelley, shadow Portfolio Holder for finances and revenues and benefits, said: “I’m delighted that we’re able to present a balanced budget to the executive with no further cuts to service provision.
“This is down to all the hard work that has taken place to transform services in North Northamptonshire to not only make the finances work but also provide the quality that our residents deserve.”
When the draft budget papers were published in December figures showed a budget gap of £10million on the revenue budget. However following the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement later that month and other financial adjustments it has now been possible to balance the budget without further service cuts.
The draft revenue budget will be discussed at a meeting of the shadow executive meeting on Wednesday, 10 February before final approval is sought at a meeting of the full shadow authority on Thursday, 25 February.
The total 2021-22 revenue budget, is £608.5m, which includes the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) of £316m. Taking aside the DSG this leaves a net revenue budget requirement of £292.5m.
The costs of the new North Northamptonshire Council will make up the majority of Council Tax bills, but they will also include precepts from the Police and Crime Commissioner to fund the police and fire services, and other elements such as Town and Parish Councils, where those exist.
Across North Northamptonshire different levels of Council Tax have previously been raised by each of the existing sovereign councils.
Whilst the Council Tax level set by NCC is the same for all parts of the county, the rates set by the Districts and Boroughs are different.
In order to set a single rate of Council Tax for North Northamptonshire there is a requirement to harmonise Council Tax.
There are strict rules over how this can be done. In North Northamptonshire, Council Tax will be harmonised from Vesting Day (April 1, 2021) and a weighted average of existing sovereign councils used to set the new, harmonised, rate.