Surrey Heath Borough Council Topics

Budget and Local Council Tax 2021/22

The Borough Council sets a budget each year. The Liberal Democrat Group of Councillors has been working for some months with the Administration Team at Surrey Heath Borough Council to develop a proposed budget for the next financial year.

Under Government guidelines the maximum increase in Council Tax allowable is 2%. The Council Administration has prepared a budget based on charging residents this maximum allowable tax increase. The Liberal Democrat Group, however, has prepared an alternative budget, one which avoids making any increase in Council Tax at all for the next year, but which also avoids making cuts to services. They have worked though the detail with the Finance team at the Council, and the Executive Head of Finance at the Council has approved this budget as workable.

Any Council Budget that proposes a change to Council Tax must be approved by the Full Council.

The meeting set to debate this Budget will be held on Wednesday 24th February at 7:00 pm. All residents are entitled to watch the proceedings via the Council's YouTube live feed - and we encourage you to do so.

Liberal Democrat Budget Proposal

We feel it is essential to try to lessen the burden on all residents, especially those with limited means, after the last twelve months of hardship and lockdowns due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Our proposed budget shows that it is possible to hold Council Tax at the same level as last year without reducing levels of front line services

This can be achieved by identifying new efficency savings in the Council's Administrative Operations - savings totalling close to £1 Million

And at the same time increasing the level of investment in key areas that are of benefit to residents

These key areas of new investment are consistent with the Liberal Democrat commitment to Community, Care and Climate. This investment will:

* Provide additional support to address poverty-related issues such as homelessness, foodbanks, care for the elderly etc.

* Help to regenerate the Borough with grants to the self-employed, taxi drivers etc and discretionary rent-free periods for new shops

* Provide support for provision of laptops in schools

* Make an additional grant to the Citizens Advice Bureau to further help residents throughout the Borough

It is a legal requirement that any Budget Proposal decided on by the Council must be a balanced budget whereby expenditure must equal income. Our Proposed budget has been reviewed thoroughly by the Finance Office of SHBC and shown to meet this standard.

The details of these budget proposals, and a comparison with the draft budget prepared by the Council's Administration Team, can be found by following these links:

- Setting of the Council Budget and Council Tax for 2021/22 - Liberal Democrat Alternative

- Wording of Revised Recommendation to the Council

- Amended versionof Annex A of the Administration Proposal