Spending and council tax proposals put forward
Published: Monday, 23 January, 2017
At a meeting to be held on Thursday evening, councillors will put forward major spending proposals for the next four years and the plans for council tax bills for the next financial year.
The Strategy and Resources committee will discuss and debate over £50million of investment and expenditure proposals as well as increasing Stroud District Council’s proportion of council tax bills by five pounds a year.
Councillor Steve Lydon, leader of Stroud District Council, said:
"As many people are aware, councils across the country have had to cope with huge government funding cuts with more to come. We are under relentless pressure with the situation worsening over the next four years. The government is removing £1.3million from our budgets meaning that in three years’ time we will be in the somewhat unusual position where we actually have to pay half a million pounds back to them, leaving us with a funding gap of nearly £2million. Against this background we obviously need to do our best to continue to provide the services to our residents. With this in mind we’ve put together a package of measures which will invest in the local economy, including some which aim to help improve the district and simultaneously build long term income streams for the council to offset the reduction in the money we receive from the government. At the same time we’re proposing to increase council tax bills by about 10 pence a week for the average household to cover our regular services."
One of the most significant proposals involves the council spending £8million to build new homes for rent. These rented properties would provide families with affordable housing whilst bringing in rental income which the council could then use to fund its day to day services. Similarly £8.7million has been identified to aid economic expansion with projects including the redevelopment of Brimscombe Port, investment in the district’s market towns, an expansion of business premises in Littlecombe and work to alleviate flooding and free up land for residential and commercial development. These would yield business rates and rental income which would once again be used to provide council services.
The proposals also recommend that the council puts forward £3million as its contribution to continue the award winning regeneration of the Cotswold Canals. A cycling and walking plan for the district and green heating measures for Stratford Park lido are among £1.2million worth of measures relating to environmental improvements.
Councillor Lydon added:
"We’re the only council in Gloucestershire that still owns and manages its council homes so we’ll be continuing our work to build new homes and improve existing ones. We intend to spend £32million over the next four years on these areas and this includes over £3million modernising our sheltered housing provision and over £1million on disabled adaptations to our tenants’ homes to allow them to continue to live independently in their homes. Aside from benefiting existing and future tenants in over 5,200 homes, this programme will put money into the local economy."
On top of these major investment projects, £60,000 has been earmarked for youth services and £20,000 for the successful Warm and Well initiative to promote energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty in the year ahead.
The Strategy and Resources committee will meet at 7pm on Thursday 26 January at Ebley Mill to discuss the plans. The meeting can be view live, online at www.stroud.gov.uk/webcasts