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Prudent financial management supports cautious but balanced budget


Prudent financial management has supported a balanced budget for Tendring District Council (TDC) this year.

Councillors approved the 2024/25 budget proposals at a full council meeting this evening (Tuesday, 13 February) – including a small rise in the district’s council tax charge.

TDC’s share of the council tax bill from April will rise by 2.99 percent - £5.62 for a Band D home, or a total of £193.73. This is just £3.72 per week, with less than 10% of households’ total council tax going to TDC; the rest goes to the county council, police and fire services, and parish councils if applicable.

Council heard that the forecast deficit had fallen dramatically thanks to an increase in business rate income of £1.4million, and an increased grant from government – but that the authority could not rely on that in the future, and tough decisions would still be required in future years.

Mark Stephenson, TDC Leader, said the reduced deficit – down to £262,000 from the previous estimate of £1.7million – bought the council time.

“While we are in a good financial position, especially compared to many other councils, we still face a number of cost pressures largely outside of our control – in particular inflation and long-term reduced government funding,” Councillor Stephenson said.

“We can meet next year’s budget deficit thanks to money prudently put aside in reserves as part of our long-term financial planning – but the deficit will continue to grow as the reserves dwindle, so this is not sustainable in the long-term, and we cannot hope for a windfall such as we have had this year, every year. This backdrop is why this is not a budget promising big shiny projects which could effectively bankrupt us in years ahead, but is a cautious budget.

“It does mean we can take our time to make carefully considered decisions about how to best to spend our budgets in future years, possibly investing to save, and not be forced into quick, knee-jerk reactions as some other councils are having to make.

“As part of Our Vision for financial sustainability and openness we will take these decisions transparently and in the best interests of our council tax payers.

“We are also fortunate to have received more than £60million from government for some specific projects, which we are able to take forward as they do not sit in our base budget.”

The budget report set out that TDC needs to save £3million over the next three years to address the forecast deficit.

Business rate levels are set by the government.

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