Budget Question and Answers
Budget mythbusting: answers to common questions about budget savings. These will be added to as more questions are asked during the consultation.
Question: What do I pay my council tax for?
Answer: This is a question that is often asked as many people are not aware of the huge range of services that are part funded by council tax.
Your council tax helps pay for things like waste collection, street lighting, parks and road repairs. But it also goes towards services that help keep people safe like trading standards and environmental health, as well as services to help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities like older people or children in care. It also helps pay towards police and fire services.
Question: Why do we have to pay more council tax for less services? Can I get a reduction?
Answer: The council tax you pay only covers a fraction of the cost of all the services we need to provide. The majority of our funding currently comes from government and business rates with only 20% coming from council tax.
Question: You seem to have a lot of money in reserves, why don’t you use some of that to help balance your budget?
Answer: The Council maintains a general reserve to cover unforeseen and unplanned for expenditure alongside reserves for specific purposes which are known as earmarked. With the cuts hitting us so quickly we have had to use some of our reserves to help give us time to bring about some of the changes needed. But they can only be used once – once they are gone, they are gone. Reserve levels are reviewed each year, but the continued use of reserves cannot be sustained in the longer term without placing the Council’s financial position at risk.
Question: Why do I have to pay extra to get my garden waste taken away? Is this not paid through council tax?
Answer: Garden waste is not something we are required by law to collect. In the past we were able to provide the service free of charge but due to massive reductions in our funding from government we are no longer able to do this. However, by households paying £31 - £33 per year, which is approx. £2 per collection, the service is able to continue.
Questions: How can people have their say about the budget proposals?
Answer: Go online and give their views on our website until 12 January. There will also be more detailed consultations on specific areas of service delivery, we want as many people as possible to give their views so that they can help us make the right decisions.