Council proposes to raise council tax by the maximum amount in draft budgets for next year

This increase would equate to an average rise of £84.76 a year on a band D property
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West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has proposed to raise council tax by the maximum amount in its draft budgets for 2024/25.

This increase would equate to an average rise of £84.76 a year on a band D property and is to be discussed, along with general spending plans, at cabinet next week (December 12).

Cabinet member for finance at WNC, Councillor Malcom Longley, said that increasing council tax is “always a difficult decision”, but is a key source of funding to ensure “essential services” are protected. The council is proposing to increase spending on services for the next financial year, with a draft net revenue budget of £409.2m- the budget for this year was £383.5m.

Guildhall, Northampton.Guildhall, Northampton.
Guildhall, Northampton.

The council says the 4.99 per cent rise, including 2 per cent of the increase going towards adult social care, will generate an additional £14.9m across the county. A six-week public consultation will launch December 13 and residents are encouraged to have their say ahead of the final budget going to full council in February.

Cllr Longley said: “Like councils up and down the country, we continue to face financial pressures from rising costs and demand for the services the council provides. We have worked hard to shape a robust, balanced draft budget that prioritises our resources to support our most vulnerable residents and protect frontline services in the most cost-effective way possible.”

To help WNC balance the books whilst protecting services the draft also proposes to increase fees and charges broadly in line with inflation, and continue to review services and restructure teams to identify more efficient ways of working and create savings.

West Northants Council are also announcing £143m of capital programme funding which will pay for projects including new infrastructure, buildings and equipment. This is separate from the revenue budget which monitors the day-to-day service spend.

The figure includes the investment of an extra £28m compared to this year and has already flagged leisure centres, a new Red Route Road safety scheme, and highways maintenance and improvement programme as key areas.

As part of a sustainable initiative, WNC are proposing to allocate £4 million towards heat decarbonisation initiatives across three key sites: Danescamp, Abington Park Museum, and Everdon Field Centre. A portion of their electricity will be generated on-site, reducing WNC’s carbon footprint and resulting in long-term savings.

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, leader of WNC, said: “We’re always looking to invest in innovative and efficient ways to support and deliver services, and using capital budgets to not only improve our local communities but help us make ongoing savings or generate new income is something we’re particularly focusing on.

“Undertaking these transformative initiatives supports our aims for a sustainable, prosperous and vibrant West Northants, with innovation and efficiency going hand in hand.”

The council also remains steadfast in its dedication to economic growth with ongoing projects, including Northampton Market Square’s transformation, and revitalising the town centre through government funds.