BUDGET ROUND-UP: £35,000 saved from postage change, higher tax receipts, bonus for new homes

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The first set of proposals in the 2019/20 Peterborough City Council budget contained a number of policies designed to try and cut a forecast deficit of £12.7 million.

The council is setting its budget in three parts so savings can be implemented early, rather than having to wait until April 2019 when the budget has to be signed off by.

Cllr David Seaton with a copy of the budget

Cllr David Seaton with a copy of the budget

The next set of budget proposals will be released in November 2018 and February 2019.

Council cabinet member for resources Cllr David Seaton said: “It is encouraging to see progress in this new approach to reducing the budget gap. We still have a long way to go, but we have another two rounds of savings to go this financial year."

Aside from introducing new enforcement teams and investing in greater resource for homelessness prevention, the budget proposals also state:

. Adult social care pressures will cost an additional £1.5 million in 2019/20 than previously expected, rising to £2.5 million more in 2021/22. The council said: "There is an increasing number of people who require local authority funding for care homes. This is because their private funds are running out due to them needing care and support for longer."

. A shared CCTV service with another Cambridegshire council will save £40,000 a year.

. The council will not use first class postage apart from in "exceptional circumstances" which will save £35,000 a year.

. Borrowing for the council's capital programme - which is for schemes including road improvements and expanding schools (and not for spending on services, which is the revenue programme) - is going to be £1.5 million less in 2019/20 than previously budgeted for. It will be will £1.2 million less in 2020/21, but in 2021/22 it will be £2.5 million more than previously budgeted for.

. £380,000 is expected to be saved from increased council tax and business rates collections.

. £300,000 is expected to be saved from the New Homes Bonus for bringing residential properties back into use, but government funding for this is to be reviewed for subsequent years.

. £100,000 is expected to be saved from the planning service. This includes allowing people to pay to fast track their application and increasing pre-application planning fees.

. Resurfacing entire roads instead of repairing patches will save an estimated £220,000 a year, it is forecast. Resurfacing is more expensive than repairing, but improving the whole road means it is less likely to need repairs in the future.

. Sharing staff with Cambridgeshire County Council and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is expected to save thousands of pounds a year.

. A "low" number of staff redundancies are expected in the future as more sharing of services takes place.

Council tax is also being budgeted to rise by two per cent next year but no final decision will be taken until the Government announces the maximum amount councils can increase council tax by.

Cllr Seaton added: "There are challenges ahead but we're in a pretty good place. We still have reserves in tact and have not got into a situation that Northamptonshire, Worcestershire and other councils are in."

A public consultation on the budget will now take place. Visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget.

A vote on the budget takes place at Full Council on Wednesday, July 25.