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CDC Budget 2017/18 recommended for approval

Craven District Council's Policy Committee last night unveiled a fully funded and balanced Revenue Budget of £6,962,165 for 2017/18. The budget has been recommended for approval at Full Council on February 21st, 2017.

The proposed budget will be funded by the council's projected revenues and a contribution from the council's reserves. The council will maintain a General Fund Balance of £995k for unforeseen outgoings.

Councillors approved a recommended increase of council tax at Band D by £5 a year to £162.21. Council tax was frozen in Craven for five years in a row but was increased by £5 last year as the Government has removed the Council Tax Freeze Grant and is reducing the Revenue Support Grant down to zero by April 2019.

The overall Revenue Support Grant from the Government for the council this year is £353,000, a reduction of 49% from 2016/17, a loss in cash terms of £344,400.

Councillor Richard Foster, Leader of the Council said: "We are facing difficult decisions again this year due to the ongoing reduction in support from Central Government. Here in Craven our Revenue Support Grant has been reduced by 49% from 2016/17, and we face further severe funding cuts over the next few years.

"We have continued to cut costs and increase income wherever possible and we have made savings of £141,000 over the last year. Given the huge pressures facing local government the council has done very well to put forward a robust and balanced budget.

"We are proud that we managed to freeze council tax for five years in a row, but we feel the best option to maintain services, is to increase it this year.

"We have listened to our residents who tell us that the services we provide are important to them, and Craven District Council will continue to deliver excellent value for money. If this budget is approved by full council, residents will pay just £3.12 per week for all the services we provide, including bin collections, street cleansing, recycling, environmental health, planning, economic development, community events, Craven Swimming Pool & Fitness Centre, Skipton Town Hall and Craven Museum & Gallery.

"As a council we are working hard to sustain and increase our income levels and realise the savings that have been built into our plan for the coming years."

For 2017/18 a further £317,000 of savings and income have been included within the recommended budget; for 2017/18 the cumulative total savings are forecast at £458,000, rising to £522,000 in 2018/19.

Craven District Council tax makes up less than 10 per cent of the total council tax bill. In 2017/18 this will equate to £3.12 per week for district council services for an average Band D property, if the budget is approved. Other authorities (the county council, police, fire service and parishes) set their own rates for their proportion and this is collected on their behalf by Craven District Council.

As part of the budget setting process the committee also recommended that the council should continue to provide assistance to parishes and so for 2017/18 the Budget also includes £9,000 of grant funding to parishes. The assistance for parishes is reducing in line with the reduction in the council's revenue support grant from central government.

For the majority of parking charges, there will be no increase for the sixth year in a row (held again at 2011/12 rates).

Final approval of the budget and setting of the Council Tax will be made at the Full Council meeting on February 21st.