Council passes budget to make town safe and recover from pandemic
Stevenage Borough Council’s budget for 2021/22 sets out how, despite a difficult year protecting and supporting residents from Covid and a challenging funding environment, the council has balanced its finances to deliver essential services to residents, and continued with its regeneration ambitions and housing priorities.
Cllr Sharon Taylor, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council said:
“Our ability to absorb the enormity of Covid on our council and finances needs to be considered alongside huge cuts. Over the last 10 years, the government has continued to reduce local government funding; local councils who connect with communities, resident groups and local people of all age groups to deliver services that make a huge difference to their day-to-day lives.
“During the last 12 months since our last budget announcement, local people have needed us and have turned to our services, knowledge and network to get through what has clearly been troubling times. The pandemic has challenged everyone, yet the council is still focused on it bold ambitions and we took action early to ensure the continued financial resilience of the council. We are a council that prides itself on delivering 120 services ourselves.”
Cllr Taylor emphasised that providing quality, affordable housing and more new homes for the people of Stevenage is one of the council’s top priorities. Other key focuses include delivering a billion pound town centre regeneration programme and reducing opportunities for anti-social behaviour to transform local lives.
This budget includes provision to help the council to move forward with the following initiatives:
- town centre regeneration,
- the delivery of affordable homes,
- Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse (SADA) service and
- co-operative neighbourhood programme.
Council Tax paid to Stevenage Borough Council for a Band C property will go up by £4.45 (2.32%). Each Band C household will pay Stevenage Borough Council £196.06 for 2021/22, (or 11.5%). This is the equivalent of just under 54 pence per day of Stevenage residents’ Council Tax bill being spent in Stevenage by this council.
Hertfordshire County Council will see an increase of 3.99%, and 7.58% from the Police and Crime Commissioner. This means the Band C council tax in Stevenage for 2021/22 will be £1,692.62, so an overall increase of just over 4%. Government Cuts are equivalent to a reduction in spend of £139.68 for each household in the town to 2021/22.
Cllr Taylor concluded by reiterating the council’s commitment to working co-operatively to bring social and economic benefits to Stevenage communities and businesses as part of the plan to rejuvenate Stevenage after the height of the pandemic and spread of the disease.
She said: “We highly value the work of our partners, without whom we would not be able to deliver some of our key services and extend our reach and ability to support local people facing this global challenge.”