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District Council balances the Budget and supports residents

Issued: 15 February 2024

Despite very challenging financial circumstances due to the economic climate and previous years’ reductions in Government funding for Councils, South Hams District Council’s Full Council heard proposals for how they would set a balanced budget for 2024/2025.

The meeting held today, Thursday 15 February, heard that strong financial management over many years and the continual drive for efficiency has meant that the Council has remained in a healthy financial position.

Reductions in Government funding over the past few years has meant the Council no longer receives any core Government grant (Revenue Support Grant), a loss of £4 million per year, so the Council has to be self-sufficient to fund all of its services.

Councillors agreed to a small increase in Council Tax of £5.54 per year, (2.99%) meaning residents living in a Band D property would pay £190.96 for the District Council’s section of the Council Tax, for all of its services.

At the same time the Council has approved changes to extend its existing Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which already supports 4,900 households and has awarded £5.9m to reduce residents’ bills through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

Cllr Julian Brazil, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “This Budget proposed an increase in Council Tax of just £5.54 a year (2.99%), an increase of under 11 pence per week.  We have kept the increase as low as possible and below current price rises.

“We really don’t want to put up any costs and I honestly mean that, but we have to be realistic about how we can provide our services with difficult cuts to our funding.

“By raising our Council Tax by this small amount, we can continue to help residents and businesses who need our support and allow us to continue delivering vital services. Whether that is through support with the cost of living, with home improvement grants, housing, benefits or other services. The extra funding will help us put the resource to where it’s most needed and help to balance the finances and to deliver the key priorities that you, our residents, have told us you want us to focus on over the next three years.

“These are only some of the many services that we offer for less than one tenth of the annual Council Tax bill. We offer real value for money, with only 8p of every £1 paid (8%) in Council Tax being kept by South Hams District Council to fund our services.

“The largest part of the Council Tax bill goes to Devon County Council who provide adult social care, children’s services and the roads network, including potholes which many people mistakenly think we are responsible for. The Council Tax also provides money for the Police and Fire Authorities, as well as local services provided by town and parish councils. South Hams District Council collects the Council Tax and pays the money across to these other councils, the Fire and the Police to run their services.”

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Posted in SHDC.