Council rents to be frozen but Council Tax to increase
Bristol’s Mayor and Cabinet have set a proposed 2021/22 budget aimed at “supporting residents through immediate and longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic”.
The budget is due to be discussed by Cabinet on Tuesday (26 January).
This means there are no new cuts to vital public services – but Council Tax will increase by 4.9 per cent.
Most of this increase (3 per cent) will be ear-marked for Adult Social Care services, to meet the needs of a system under pressure.
In light of the pandemic’s impact on families – the council is freezing rents for existing council tenants for the coming year, and continuing with a fully-funded Council Tax Reduction Scheme
An overall revenue budget of £424.1million and a capital budget of £907million have also been proposed, illuminating the financial challenge the city continues to face.
The capital programme sets out funding of some major upcoming projects, including: £26m investment in SEN (Special Educational Needs) over four years, £132m for housing delivery over five years and £75m for transport and highways.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “We are still responding to the worst public health crisis in recent times, and Council Tax funds critical front line services and allows us to support our most vulnerable communities during the pandemic.
“It would be irresponsible for us to cut funding to our vital public services such as education, waste, recycling and road maintenance at this time. What we have done is keep any proposed increases to the minimal possible amount we can.
“I know many residents will be worried about how they pay their bills, but please be reassured that the council will do all we can to support those people who are struggling, including the retention of our Council Tax Reduction Scheme…”
Every February, the council sets a budget for the next year which details how much money will be spent on the services it provides.
The financial settlement for local authorities has still not been finalised by central government, so the proposed budget is based on current information only.
Anyone who believes they are eligible for a reduction in their Council Tax is advised to contact Bristol City Council Benefits Service: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/benefits-financial-help/council-tax-reduction