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Final budget proposals for 2023-2024 to be discussed by North Northamptonshire Full Council


16 February 2023

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Final budget proposals for North Northamptonshire Council for the next financial year will be presented at the authority’s Council meeting on February 23. 
Draft proposals were initially approved by the Executive on December 22 and these were subject to a detailed consultation process and scrutiny, before being reported back to the Executive on February 9. 

A report to be discussed next week will present a balanced revenue budget for 2023/24 as well as outline the medium-term financial plan for the next two years.

The net revenue budget for 2023/24 is £336.6 million, which includes a further investment of about £57m to both protect vital services and invest in service change and improvement.

Money is spent on a range of services including improving local schools, town centres, transport and rural neighbourhoods as well as investing in adult social care and the in care and support for children and families.

The council is also continuing its efforts to tackle the effects of climate change with the use of a dedicated £1m fund for this purpose and the authority will continue to support and develop the local economy, housing, education and skills development.

Financial demand pressures are offset, in part, by savings, efficiencies and income generation across council services of £17m which includes new direct service grants.

In light of the feedback received from the consultation, the Leader and the Executive revised the final budget with the removal of the proposal for the standardisation of grants for community centres.

I’m delighted that after a lengthy consultation process we are in a position to table our final budget proposals to the Council. 
We are currently living through very challenging times; this council must do all it can to manage its finances efficiently and with prudence.

In these difficult times, we know our services are vital to residents and we are working hard to protect and improve them in the face of increasing demand.
Cllr Lloyd Bunday, the council’s executive member for finance and transformation
I’m pleased that despite the uncertain times we’re living in, we’ve been able to develop proposals that aim to benefit our residents while at the same time are affordable. 

We are a listening council and following the consultation we heard the voice of residents with the removal of the proposal for the standardisation of community centre grants. This was the right thing to do.
Making life better for everyone in North Northamptonshire is the overarching priority for this authority and creating stable foundations is essential if we are going to work towards this goal.
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

Council Tax

Government has permitted local authorities to increase the Council Tax rate by 4.99% in recognition of the difficult financial climate and increased inflationary pressures.

As such the authority is proposing an increase allowed by Government in council tax of 4.99%, which includes the 2% adult social care precept.

This increase would contribute around an additional £9m per year towards inflationary and demand lead pressures to enable services to be maintained and would represent a Band D level of Council Tax for North Northamptonshire Council of £1,657.51 for 2023/24.

This is an annual increase of £78.78 (equivalent to £1.52 per week) from the Band D Council Tax level of £1,578.73 in 2022/23. For a Band A property – which makes up the greatest proportion of residences in the area – this would see an annual increase from £1,052.48 in 2022/2023 to £1,105.00 for 2023/24, which is £52.52 a year (equating to £1.01 per week).

Increasing Council Tax has the advantage of providing stable funding for the future, helping to further protect services.

This Band D figure does not include the Council Tax for individual Town and Parish Councils or the Council Tax set for Fire and Police by the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

There is no change to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme which will continue at 25%. 

Capital Programme 

Final proposals for North Northamptonshire Council capital projects will also be put before the Council, totalling £109.1m over a three-year period. General capital projects make up £65.4m of this amount while the Housing Revenue Account is £43.7m.
There is also a Capital development pool - totalling £190.2m - for the progression and prioritisation of key schemes. 

Housing Revenue Account 

The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) is a separate ring-fenced account within the Council for the income and expenditure associated with its housing stock. 

The HRA does not directly impact on the Council’s wider general fund budget or on the level of council tax. Income to the HRA is primarily received through the rents and other charges paid by tenants and leaseholders. 

This year’s HRA proposal is for a balanced budget for the two Neighbourhood Accounts.

There is also a proposed rent increase of 7% for the next financial year, which accords with the Government’s rent setting policy for 2023/24. Any funding received by the HRA is retained within the HRA and will be used to support housing improvements and maintenance.