Corby Borough Council has agreed a balanced and sustainable budget for 2019/2020 at a Full Council meeting held Wednesday 27th February that supports service provision, investment, growth and opportunity.
The Budget includes a council tax freeze for residents, which is likely to mean that the average Council Tax for Corby will remain as the second lowest District Council in the county for 2019/20.
Leader of Corby Borough Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said:
‘The 2019/20 budget is extremely positive for the council in the current climate and continues to build on the success of our strong financial leadership.
‘It is a budget in which we are contributing to reserves and deciding over which growth proposals we should include rather than which services or posts we need to cut back on.
‘This is largely due to a combination of factors including the difficult decisions we have previously taken, our willingness to look at new ways of working, our pursuit of a growth agenda and more recently our commercial approach to investment properties.
‘In the past year or so we have invested heavily in commercial properties and these ventures have generated over £1m a year of net surplus to the general fund. This is after allowing for an annual repayment of the borrowing. I recognise that this agenda is also widely supported by all members and so I would like to thank both officers and members in their approach to this which has enabled us to be a more outward looking council.
‘We have now had austerity for almost 9 years and whilst continued Central Government funding cuts and the impact of the recession have continued and will continue to place significant strain on local government finances, our commitment to growth and investment allows the budget for 2019/20 to protect front line services, and allow a contribution to reserves.
‘Indeed it is this approach that has allowed us to utilise a proportion of our reserves for one off capital projects for next year and this is the basis for the capital budget.’
‘This approach also allows us to freeze our proportion of the council tax. This is a move that we feel sure will be well received by the residents of the borough when the remaining proportions of their bill are increasing above inflation.
‘This is in stark contrast to several councils up and down the country who are forced into having to cut services, utilise reserves and make significant job cuts in order to balance their books.
‘We do however recognise that there will continue to be uncertainties as we move forward. The obvious major one is the uncertainty of Local Government Reform within Northamptonshire and how and when this will impact on the residents of Corby. As a result we have sought to maintain our reserves at a sensible level. This represents a further example of how the Council has and is continuing to move forward.
‘It is also becoming increasingly apparent that whilst the council has done everything asked of it by the government, including efficiency savings and growth both in terms of housing and attracting new businesses, the future of our finances continues to be uncertain.
‘The only thing that we know for certain is that local government overall will continue to be subject to significant change and pressure moving forward. However, the full extent of this will not be known for another year or two at least.
‘In short, we have done well so far but we know that there will be risks moving forward.
‘Whilst we recognise and accept the challenges that the council faces over the next few years, overall our Budget for 2019/20 is another budget for service provision, investment, growth and opportunity. It’s a budget that builds on our past achievements and will continue to deliver even more in Corby in support of our corporate aims.’
Within the same meeting the Borough Council also agreed Corby’s General Fund Capital Programme 2019/20 that looks to invest over £5m back into Corby assets including improvements to shopping parades within the Borough, investment in play areas at Glastonbury Road and Lyvden Way, improvements to paths and open space fencing, bloom planters and shrub bed planning, work to extend Corby’s cemetery and more.
The full Capital Programme can be viewed in the report found at www.corby.gov.uk/full-council-27-february-2019