Councillors approve annual budget for 2023/24

Rutland County Council’s latest budget has been approved by Full Council.

The entrance to Rutland County Council's Catmose offices
The entrance to Rutland County Council's Catmose offices

Rutland County Council’s budget for the next financial year was approved by Elected Members at a Full Council Meeting on Monday 27 February.

The budget of £46.5million covers the total annual cost of running local services in Rutland. This includes road maintenance, bin collections, library services, fostering and adoption, school transport and care for vulnerable adults and children.

As well as approving the Council’s overall budget, Treasury Strategy, Capital Investment Strategy and Fees and Charges for 2023/24, Councillors also voted on Council Tax proposals for the coming year. A Council Tax rise of 2.99%, plus an additional 2% precept to help fund adult social care, was recommended as part of the budget. Councillors also gave serious consideration to an amendment from Cllr Nick Begy, proposing a 1% Council Tax increase and 2% adult social care precept.

Following extensive debate, Councillors determined that a total Council Tax rise of less than 4.99% was too great a risk to Rutland’s financial stability. Councils everywhere are operating under severe pressure due to the cost of running local services and have only received a one-year funding settlement from National Government. This means there is huge uncertainty about the amount of funding that Councils will receive beyond 2023/24.

National government continues to give councils the power to raise Council Tax by as much as 4.99% and expects local authorities to make full use of this to help pay for services. In Rutland, this will add just under £8 a month to the Council Tax bill for an average Band D property.

“Faced with soaring costs and very little certainty about our future funding, councils are having to make incredibly difficult decisions to balance their books. We have a plan to make Rutland County Council more sustainable. However, this relies on making maximum use of the Council Tax flexibility given to us by National Government – at least for now. The impact of any tax rise below the maximum represents a serious threat to our financial independence if the current economic outlook does not improve.

“Even after millions of pounds of savings, a 4.99% increase in Council Tax and the use of reserves, our income does not match our current outgoings, such is the level of financial pressure we are under. Our long-term plan involves reshaping council services and focussing our resources where they’re needed most, so that we’re spending only what we can afford. We know that families are also struggling and there isn’t a single Councillor who wants to raise Council Tax this year. If the economic outlook changes for the better, we very much hope that we can take a different approach in future budgets.”

Cllr Karen Payne, Cabinet Member for Finance

As part of the budget for 2023/24, Rutland County Council is making an extra £33,000 of financial support available to families on a low income who need help to pay their Council Tax. Councillors at the meeting on Monday 27 February also voted in favour of another amendment from Cllr Nick Begy that will vary the Council’s approach to support those in need but who are not necessarily claiming Local Council Tax Support (LCTS).

Council approved an increased amount of funding from Rutland’s Household Support Fund (HSF) to support those not on LCTS. Rutland’s HSF Policy will be reviewed prior to any allocation of funds in the second half of the HSF programme (likely to be in September 2023), to make sure it is meeting the objective of supporting those in need and not on LCTS.

An additional £20,000 will also be added to Rutland County Council’s Hardship Fund and ringfenced for households that are in urgent need of assistance but not eligible to apply for LCTS. The maximum support will be capped at £100 per household. The Hardship Fund may also be further increased by Council if this funding is exhausted.

Details of our budget for 2023/24, together with a link to the budget report and amendments presented at Full Council on Monday 27 February, can be found on our Annual Budget page.

The minutes from Rutland’s Budget Full Council meeting will be published within 10 days of the meeting date.

    Was this page useful?