Basildon Council to discuss budget proposals

No rise in council tax, money to continue lighting the borough’s streets through the night and investment in new facilities and positive activities for young people – these are some of the budget proposals for 2020/21 that Basildon councillors are set to discuss next week.

Alongside investment in priority areas, the budget will also include measures aimed at reducing expenditure and increasing income to provide funds to support essential services.

Leader of Basildon Council, Gavin Callaghan said: “Over the last five years Government action has reduced the council’s spending power by £13m. Yet the need and the demand for council services continues to rise. We cannot sit by while our services are cut to the bone.

“I won’t ask hard-pressed local people to pay more to make up for Government cuts – that’s why we freezing council tax this year.

“We have ambitious plans to invest in our borough so that it is fit to face the challenges of the future – transforming our town centres, investing in our young people and making our borough bigger, better and stronger.

“To fund this investment we will increase the amount of money we can raise to support our services in other ways – for example, increasing investments in commercial property, boosting housebuilding by Sempra Homes to increase the supply of social housing as well as building for sale to reinvest in more homes, encouraging business growth to raise more from business rates and cutting the long-term cost of our services by investing in a programme of digital transformation.

“This is a budget for the future. It proposes a massive capital investment in young people, which will be match-funded by the private sector and charities, to provide somewhere to go, something to do, someone to talk to for all our young people.

“It invests in the ongoing regeneration of our town centres and a massive transformation of Basildon town centre. It invests in the technology we need to modernise our services to provide them in ways that local people demand and that will cut our costs for the long-term. And, because we cannot achieve all our ambitions until we control education, highways and transport, we will invest in making the case for Basildon to take back powers from county hall.”

The proposed budget will be considered at the meeting of Policy and Resources committee on Thursday January 30 before it goes for final approval to Council February 13.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]