Zero increase in council tax; more money to be spent on adult social care
North Lincolnshire Council yesterday set its annual budget for 2016/17.
There will be no increase in general council tax, and an extra £1m will be spent on improving care of adults through a brand new social care precept. Residents said in a recent budget consultation that social care for adults and older people is the most important service to them.
The cost to run council services (revenue budget) has been set at £126m. And the council will invest around £123m through its capital programme to improve/construct buildings, improving roads, leisure facilities and much more
Most properties in North Lincolnshire are in Band B properties. They will pay £991 for general council services, plus a precept for police, fire, parish and the new social care precept.
Other key decisions from yesterday’s budget meeting:
£1.2m to continue free parking in Brigg, Scunthorpe and Ashby will bring more people into the areas. Since the council introduced free parking in May 2014, shoppers are now benefiting from free two hours parking Monday to Friday, free parking all day Saturday and Sunday, and free after 2pm in The Parishes multi storey car park in Scunthorpe during the week.
Invest £250,000 to continue the Imagination Library scheme that has been a huge success. Since it launched in 2013, 85 per cent (7,916) of eligible children registered. A further 3,214 children graduated from the Imagination Library, bringing the total number of children who have benefited to 11,130. The scheme encourages more children to spend time reading with their parents or carers. Those signing up to the scheme receive a free book each month between the ages of birth and five.
£2.8m will be spent over the next four years to assist with more community projects
An extra £2m on improving roads, bringing the total over four years to around £21m
£5m Trent and Humber flood work (over four years)
New £250,000 Fund for the next two years for Skate parks and MUGAs (multi use games areas)
£750,000 for new visitor centres for Crowle Moors, Belton and Bottesford
£90,000 for new changing places toilets in public council buildings
£1.3m to complete the popular Ancholme Valley Way and Isle of Axholme Greenway to open up the routes for cyclists, walkers and runners. Work started last year on the Ancholme Valley Way and when completed will run from Brigg to South Ferriby
New Fund for communities to spruce up war memorials ready to mark the end of the WW1 centenary events in 2018.
Councillor Liz Redfearm, NLC leader, said: “We are probably one of only a few councils in the country to not increase the general council tax. Over the last five years, we have managed to save more than £49m – and we have done this by being smarter at how we deliver our services. We are about to introduce a new shared service from 1 April with North East Lincolnshire Council that will save over £12m in the next ten years and protect front line services. This will bring together the HR, IT, Finance and legal functions.
“We have continually been commended by independent auditors for the way we manage our finances and our commitment to providing value for money. We continue to receive good inspection results for our adult and children’s services. And our commitment to Post 16 transport will enable students to continue their education with low cost travel passes at just £30, believed to be the lowest in the country.
“We are a low tax council and take residents views seriously and work with them when setting the budget. Residents told us in our recent budget consultation that the most important service to them is social care for adults and older people, followed by economic growth and prosperity, then safer and stronger communities. I believe this budget addresses all of these things and more.
“We are investing record levels of money to transform and improve North Lincolnshire. Scunthorpe town centre is a good example of this where we now have the region’s first university technical college, many free parking initiatives, and further plans to invest and bring more people and businesses to the town.
“By transforming the way that we do things and instilling a culture of change across the organisation, we are able to deliver better services and be more commercially minded and look for opportunities that will help generate more income. We are already seeing good examples of this and we want to see more. It also means that we can continue to provide the key services that people need and in the way that they want them.”