Winchester City Council has agreed a balanced budget which is focused on maintaining services and continuing to deliver on key priorities during unprecedented financial pressures.
Cllr Neil Cutler, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance & Risk, commented:
“After a uniquely difficult year which has put the Council’s finances under significant strain, producing a balanced budget for 2021/22 has been challenging. We have taken difficult decisions to implement significant savings in the light of projected falls in income. The budget provides the Council with the financial resilience to deal with an uncertain future, while enabling delivery of our Council plan, crucially delivering improved services, working with business for a green economic recovery, and meeting carbon reduction targets in the district.”
Each year, all local authorities are required to publish a budget setting out how they will fund the services they provide or activities they support. Whilst the council set out a fully-funded budget in February 2020, the impact of COVID-19 has seen significant additional costs as well as dramatic losses of income. The direct result of the impacts of the pandemic mean a forecasted shortfall on the budget for the next financial year of £3 million*.
Following a public consultation on budget options, a number of savings were identified and finally agreed at the meeting of Full Council on 24 February 2021. These included £1.1 million in staff changes, £1.3 million in operational savings, and £600,000 through additional savings options.
The proportion of council tax paid to Winchester City Council will increase by three percent which means that, from April 2021, a Band D property will pay an extra £4.25 per year.
The council remains committed to the key priorities set out in the Council Plan and a the annual refresh of the Council Plan was also agreed at Full Council which takes account of the budget constraints while still maintaining a focus on: