Council tax hike approved in 2020-21 budget

North Somerset Council sets budget for 2020/21.PICTURE: GOOGLE STREET VIEW

North Somerset Council sets budget for 2020/21.PICTURE: GOOGLE STREET VIEW - Credit: Google Street View

North Somerset Council, setting its 2020-21 budget this week, has agreed to recruit more foster carers, invest in several district-wide projects and increase council tax.

The authority said it was still facing 'tough choices' in a time of 'financial austerity' while it worked to offer people an 'open, fairer and greener' council.

Council tax in the district is set to increase by 1.99 per cent from April, and the average band D property will now have to pay the authority £1,432.50, up from £1,378.50 in 2018-19. Another 2 per cent increase will be ringfenced for adult social care in the area.

The authority will boost investment in early intervention and prevention services for children and cultural development, revise parking charges, invest in a programme to fill empty retail units in Weston's town centre and change garden-waste services.

The administration said, to balance the budget and deliver its services in the district, it had to find an additional £5million of funding cuts from central government, as well as £11million in savings.

Council leader Don Davies said: "We are committed to ensuring our council is more open, fairer and greener, and this budget reflects those ambitions.

"Financial austerity has not gone away, and we are still facing tough choices. To balance the budget, we have had to cover a £5million cut in funding from central government, as well as £11million of extra cost pressures to deliver our existing services.

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"However, we are determined to protect services wherever possible and narrow the gaps that exist between our residents who have the most and the least opportunity to thrive in North Somerset.

"We will continue to focus on maximising independence for vulnerable adults, early intervention and support for families and young people, encouraging active and healthy lifestyles for everyone.

"With further savings of more than £18million still to be identified between 2021 and 2024, we will continue to look for more efficient methods of service delivery, making use of technology and systems and exploring opportunities for joint working with partners."

Councillors voted 33 to one in favour of the budget.