Council sets Covid-recovery budget prioritising climate change, economic recovery and health and wellbeing
Rugby Borough Council approved its budget for the financial year 2021-22 at a meeting of the council held tonight (23 February).
The budget maintains all council services and supports a new Corporate Strategy that was also approved at the meeting. The strategy prioritises addressing climate change, supporting economic recovery, and improving health and wellbeing of residents, as the borough recovers from the health and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The council will receive no core grant funding from central government in 2021-22 following the removal of the revenue support grant, and is projected to receive £800,000 less in retained business rates and New Homes Bonus funding than in 2020-21.
A £5 per year increase in the basic average band D council tax will provide £235,000 of additional income to the Council. Savings and new income sources will cover £760,000 in a budgeted shortfall, but in a one-off move for 2021-22, £1.2million will be funded from reserves.
Cllr Seb Lowe, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “While there is now the hope of an end to the pandemic later this year, the impact of Covid-19 has been significant and will be felt for some time.
Councillors from all parties have backed the council’s response to the pandemic. It was right to prioritise support for our most vulnerable residents such as our work to support the clinically extremely vulnerable and I am grateful in particular to the opposition group leaders for their agreement at key moments of our response.
“Nevertheless the pandemic has seen our costs increase and income decrease. Through prudent financial management we have sufficient reserves to protect the services that residents value over the next year, but we will continue to look to alternative sources of funding for future years.
Our priority will be to address the climate emergency, support economic recovery and improve health and wellbeing. We have committed through our new Corporate Strategy to work with our communities to do what’s right for Rugby.
“As we transition from a response phase to recovery, we will be able to accelerate our work on a new vision for Rugby’s town centre, on environmental improvements and on closing the gap on health and wellbeing.”
Warwickshire County Council has already approved a £44.64 increase in its share of the council tax bill and the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner has increased its share by £14.99. Warwickshire County Council’s share of the council tax bill is 76 per cent, with the police keeping 12 per cent and Rugby Borough Council just 8 per cent. The remainder is for parish councils or for the town area.
The actual council tax rates to be paid by a Band D property in 2021/22 will be:
Warwickshire County Council £1,533.51
Warwickshire Police & Crime Commissioner £252.96
Rugby Borough Council £155.30
Rugby Town Area £74.95
Parish Area (average) £57.28