Friday, 26 February, 2021
At the Full Council Meeting of Surrey Heath Borough Council on February 24, Members set the budget and Council Tax for 2021/22.
Throughout the past year, SHBC has continued to provide high quality services to its residents despite the pandemic and economic downturn.
The cost of the services delivered by SHBC are funded by local taxes (Council Tax and Business Rates), Rents and Charges.
Since the decision by Government in 2019 to stop providing a support grant to fund day-to-day spending, the Council has focused on achieving greater levels of income from its commercial holdings.
The Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn has severely impacted on this source of funds, and the budget for 2021/22 reflects this.
Under current arrangements only 11% of Council Tax and 5% of Business Rates collected locally by SHBC stays with the Borough Council – the remainder of the Council Tax collected goes to Surrey County Council (74%), Surrey Police (14%) and Parish Councils (1%).
Despite the challenges as a result of the pandemic, the Council has been able to agree a budget without having to cut frontline services.
This has been achieved through better procurement, improved recruitment processes, collaboration with other councils and organisations, and better management of our property holdings. It has also been possible to continue to freeze car parking charges at 2014 levels.
In addition, the Council has also been able to increase resources to improve services in areas such as enforcement, planning, and the management of our buildings.
The Council is under a legal duty to deliver a balanced budget, and the budget for 2021/22 was agreed at the Full Council meeting.
This means that Council Tax has to be increased to avoid cuts in services. Residents will be asked to pay an additional £5 a year on the SHBC element of the bill for a Band D taxpayer, taking the total to £228.66. This equates to an increase of just under 10p per week.
SHBC Leader, Cllr Alan McClafferty said: “This is obviously a very difficult time for many of our residents where more people than ever are relying on Council services, therefore it was felt that SHBC should protect vital services to our community. The importance of these services has been underlined throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Council has improved efficiency, increased partnership working and driven income generation, and will continue to do so. I hope that our residents will support the action taken by the Council to deliver efficiencies and preserve services that residents value, and the most vulnerable members of our society rely on. Anyone struggling to pay their Council Tax should contact SHBC to discuss the ways in which we can help.”