Published: Friday, 3rd February 2023
Cabinet will be considering the council's budget, and the level of its portion of the overall 2023/2024 council tax bill, on 7 February 2023.
If the recommendations being made to Cabinet are agreed, the reports will be presented to Full Council for consideration on 23 February 2023.
Despite the well-documented challenges of the turbulent last few years, including the response to COVID and the war in Ukraine placing unprecedented demands on existing services and the need to create new ones, a funded budget for the next three years is being presented to Cabinet for consideration. This has been achieved by constantly reviewing the financial situation, looking ahead, prudential planning, and working effectively with partners. This approach will continue across the remaining period of the plan* so that services are maintained or improved from current levels.
The Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk is the 5th largest district authority in England covering 550 square miles (a quarter of Norfolk) and serving 150,000 residents. Such a geographically large and rural area results in complexities and inherent costs in the delivery of services such as waste collection, and the provision of growth, developments and events.
Like all other UK councils, the borough council is facing considerable current pressures including the impact of inflation, energy/fuel costs and uncertainty in long term government funding.
As a direct consequence, and in line with many other councils across the country, it is proposed that the borough's portion of the council tax bill will be increased by £5 for the entire year on an average Band D Property**. The increase on lower banded properties will be less than this amount.
This equates to a proposed rise of just under 9p per week or a much lower-than-inflation increase of 3.2%.
If agreed, this would mean the borough council's element of the entire council tax bill for a band D property would be £143.87 per year for 2023-2024.
A significant proportion of this £143.87 is immediately passed over to the many local Internal Drainage Boards who make a levy on the council for their important services. In 2023/2024 this levy will amount to £61.29 per average band D property. This means the council provides everything it does for just £82.58 per year or £1.59 per week per average band D property.
This low level of council tax requirement keeps the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk in the bottom 20% of district charging authorities. If the Internal Drainage Board Levy was excluded, the borough council would be one of the lowest charging authorities in the country.
This is often misunderstood as the borough council collects council tax on behalf of all authorities in its area, including Norfolk County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and parish councils. Last year, from each £1 paid in council tax, the borough council retained only 4p to cover the cost of providing its services. This year, it is likely to be even less than that.***
In addition to council tax, the council funds its activities through fees and charges for certain services, government grants and prudent use of investments, borrowing and reserves.
Our budget proposals for most of our fees and charges, including car parking and brown bin collection, will largely remain unchanged, except for a limited number of services where directly associated costs have soared.
Cllr Angie Dickinson, Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk Cabinet Member for Finance, explained: "We have seen inflation and rising costs this year, the likes of which have not been experienced in many residents' living memory. Our task has been to balance our need to support those in difficulty, maintain or improve the services on which we all rely such as refuse collection and leisure facilities, and which make west Norfolk a great place to live. We also want to ensure we have the funds to deliver our ambitious programme of investment, support to businesses and growth, while not pushing the pressure that the council is experiencing onto our residents. This proposed budget achieves just that."
The budget report is available at www.west-norfolk.gov.uk.
Cabinet takes place on 7 February, with Council on 23 February.