Council tax will rise by just 13p a week and frontline services protected for Cannock Chase residents - despite the local authority facing a £1.8m gap in its budget.
Like many authorities across the country the Council is still recovering from the financial impact of the pandemic, increased energy charges, the rise in the cost of living and ongoing uncertainty about future funding from central government.
Despite these financial challenges a report to the Council’s Cabinet will recommend an increase of 13 pence - meaning the cost to the average council tax band D payer will be £4.56 a week from April 2023 for the services Cannock Chase Council provides. This includes provision of leisure services, parks and open spaces, waste collection, street cleansing, support for the homeless and for vulnerable residents.
The local authority is also planning to help more low-income families with proposed changes to the Local Council Tax Reduction scheme that will see around 1,900 households not having to pay any of the council tax charge in the 2023/24 financial year.
The budget report to Cabinet shows how the Council can maintain frontline services for the residents of Cannock Chase, whilst balancing its ongoing financial challenges.
The Council has already identified savings of around £550,000 by sharing nearly all its functions with neighbours Stafford Borough Council in a move that will ensure frontline services are maintained. The Cabinet will also be discussing charges for some discretionary services in a bid to plug the £1.8m budget shortfall.
If the savings are agreed they could save the Council £902,000 in 2023-24 and £2,098,500 in 2024-25.
Councillor Olivia Lyons, Leader of the Council said “These are exceptionally difficult times for local government - as they are for local residents who rely on our services. Cannock Chase Council is facing significant financial pressures but our priority is to continue to protect frontline services. The challenging decisions we have taken in relation to savings and the use of reserves in the short term will enable us to balance the budget this year.”
“The budget papers outline a plan to help the Council through the next two years. We have prioritised protecting frontline services for our residents but in order to do this it will be necessary to review some of the discretionary services. These decisions are not easy and our goal is to ensure we protect frontline services for local residents and ensure best value for the taxpayer.”
The budget report will go to Cabinet on 26 January and if agreed it will go to Full Council for a decision on 15 February.