Published: Tuesday, 1st March 2022
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council’s annual budget was signed off at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday (23 February).
It included a council tax increase of £4.50 (for an average Band D property) to pay for borough council services, which brings its statutory element of the bill to £139.37 per year. Of that £57.20 goes to fund Internal Drainage Board operations within the borough so the council’s services are provided for £82.17 per year (for an average Band D property).
Cllr Stuart Dark MBE, leader of the council, said: “I am proud of the budget we have agreed. West Norfolk has the largest local authority area in Norfolk and one of the largest in England so the scale of our operations is huge.
“Yet for an average of 23p per day we provide a range of services for people, from bin collection to helping people in housing crisis, from supporting the tourism industry to helping people to remain independent at home.
“On top of these core services, during the pandemic, we have been able to invest in projects and initiatives to support our local communities, including the successful Summer of Play, increase in council tax relief, £250k for Princess Theatre roof and administering £78million in grants to support local businesses.
“I would like to reiterate my thanks to the officers and members of the council for everything they have done to support our communities during this challenging time.
“Through the combined efforts of an enormous number of people we have managed to keep the increase below inflation and as we provide our services for just 4p in every £1 of council tax collected, this represents excellent value for money.
The borough council collects council tax on behalf of Norfolk County Council, The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and parish/town councils.
The council does generate some additional income through service fees and charges, several of which are set nationally.
On these rises, Cllr Dark said: “Where possible fees and charges have been raised by below the rate of inflation and where this has not been possible we have used a targeted approach to minimise the impact on residents and businesses.”
He added: “We have a funded position for the next three years and looking ahead there is much to be positive about. We have invested in improving litter picking and fly-tipping services. We are committed to supporting the Town Deal projects across King's Lynn and we are putting £250k per annum for four years into initiatives to tackle climate change. This is a budget designed to support communities.”
Cllr Angie Dickinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "Inflation (CPI) is currently at 5.5%, the highest it has been for 30 years, yet we have managed to contain around 75% of our increases for chargeable services to well within that rate, with more than a quarter of our tariffs not being increased at all.
“Going forward, it’s essential that we review our charges on an annual basis, to reflect a variety of issues such as cost of provision, market forces and improvements in technology so that large increases are avoided wherever possible. We have put a substantial sum aside to ensure that we have sufficient income in order that we do not need to cut services or increase income beyond inflationary levels.
"We are closely monitoring our position as we await the details of financial reforms to the business rate's retention scheme and Fair Funding Review. We are fully engaged in the government consultation to ensure we get the best we possibly can for west Norfolk.
“We have also been identified as one of the areas to benefit from the Government's levelling up scheme, something in which we are keen to engage but are awaiting details of what the scheme could mean for us.”