Council tax to increase for 'most exciting council budget in 18 years'

The council is starting to set its budget.

North Somerset Council has proposed an increase in council tax to support its new, exciting budget. - Credit: Archant

Council tax in North Somerset is set to be increased again as the council prevents cuts to frontline services in its ‘most exciting budget in years’.

A 'sustainable, post-Covid budget' has been outlined with significant investments in adult social care and priority areas, though it is dependent on a 1.99 per cent increase to council tax in the district.

The council’s executive for finance and performance, councillor Ash Cartman, revealed the authority faced a £26million gap in its budget as a consequence of Covid-19, though the strain is now beginning to ease.

Cllr Mike Solomon

Cllr Mike Solomon is North Somerset Council's executive for Communities, tourism and leisure. - Credit: NSC

Cllr Cartman said: “This budget will set the course for an open, fair and green North Somerset.

“There are core themes to the finances which are; setting a responsible, prudent and sustainable budget; investing for our post-Covid future and retaining, protecting and improving our frontline services.

“With support from the Government and our officers we have managed to reduce the £26million gap and will be balancing the budget this year - which is great.”

Mr Cartman admitted that without the 'thousands of acts of kindness' from volunteers the authority would not be in the position it is where it can 'see the end'.

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As like many councils around the UK, North Somerset faces a rise in demands and costs which succeeds its income.

However, it has managed to commit to an additional growth provision of £2.5million for 'persistent issues'.

Lights over Marine Parade light up the night sky. 

£700,000 has been pledged by North Somerset Council to support the district's 'great lakes' in Weston, Portishead and Clevedon. - Credit: Bruce Hartley

This will include £750,000 funding for children placements as well as £500,000 funds on both home school transport and adult social care.

A further £475,000 will be put towards legacy issues within the disabled children’s budgets.

Elsewhere, there is £7.5million worth of savings in the plans, though Cllr Cartman was proud to say the budget 'does not include a single cut to frontline services'.

In total, increased spending on adult social care will amount to just under £4.6million, £1.9million will be added to children’s services and the council will commit to £1.1million spending on 'priority areas to deliver impact and change within communities'.

North Somerset Councillor Mark Canniford.Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Cllr Mark Canniford called this budget "well balanced" and "the most exciting in my 18 years with the council". - Credit: Archant

Cllr Mark Canniford hailed the budget as 'the most exciting budget I have seen during my 18 years with the council' due to its Sovereign Shopping Centre plans and £700,000 investment into North Somerset's marine lakes across Weston, Portishead and Clevedon.

MORE: Council approves plans to repurpose Sovereign Centre

Around £1.25million will also be put into supporting the district's road networks.

However councillor Cartman was keen to point out the importance of a council tax increase to support the plans.

He added: “This is, given the circumstances, in line with the vast majority of councils across the UK.

"I think I have heard of two who have not gone with the same increase. The reason this has happened is because we face an uncertain future.

“We hold reserves and have been very careful that we have not run them down and will not run them down in this plan. But we will not hesitate to use them if we need to.”

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