West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation

Closed 2 Feb 2021

Opened 6 Dec 2020

Feedback updated 1 Apr 2021

We asked

The first draft budget for West Northamptonshire Council was approved for consultation by the Shadow Executive on 5 January 2021.

The following summarises the main features of the proposed draft budget:

  • A balanced budget achieved in challenging circumstances
  • The protection of existing service levels
  • No reductions in any service provision
  • Efficiency savings of £13.4m
  • Average Council Tax increase of £6.20 per month for a band D equivalent property
  • Incorporation of contingencies to mitigate the potential uncertainties associated with the first year of operation
  • Preservation of all current capital schemes across West Northamptonshire

The draft budget was subject to a full public and business consultation exercise which ran for four weeks from 6 December 2021 and closed on 2 February 2021.

The consultation focused on the draft budget proposals that would likely affect residents and service users. However, respondents were invited to comment on anything within the draft budget.

You said

Using the various means available to consultees, local people and organisations contributed to the West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation 457 times. 

Council Tax harmonisation proposals:

  • 54.72% respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree that all Council Tax Bands A–H should be harmonised for residents of West Northamptonshire, while 33.47% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 45.85% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree that the Council should use an Average Council Tax approach to recalculate the Council Tax Bands A–H, while 38.34% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 45.41% said they would prefer the harmonisation to be introduced within the first three years, with 17.90% saying they would prefer harmonisation within the first year. However, 23.58% said they would rather harmonisation be implemented as late as possible and opted for year seven

Council Tax increase proposals:

  • 47.58% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed general Council Tax increase of 1.99%, while 39.20% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 40.18% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed 3% precept increase for Adult Social Care, while 44.64% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree

Housing Revenue Account (HRA) proposals:

  • 48.06% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed increase to rent by 1.5% on average across the Council’s housing stock in line with national government policy increase, while 26.22% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 43.00% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed increase to general service charges by 0.5%, increase, while 19.50% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree

For more information about the responses to the West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation, please see Appendix I – West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation Analysis Report from the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority meeting on 23 February 2021.

We did

On Tuesday 23 February 2021, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority approved a budget of £326.6 million to provide services to residents and businesses in West Northamptonshire.

For more information about the 2021 to 2022 budget for West Northamptonshire, please see the:

Overview

West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation ran from 6 December 2020 to midnight on 2 February 2021 on the Future Northants Consultation Hub as part of preparations for the formation of West Northamptonshire Council.

The consultation has been added to the West Northamptonshire Consultation Hub as a matter of record and to provide feedback on how consultation responses assisted decision making.

The first draft budget for West Northamptonshire Council was approved for consultation by the Shadow Executive on 5 January 2021 and now we’re seeking views on the proposals for when the council comes into existence in April 2021.

The 2021/2022 proposals maintain services and standards and propose no service reductions. We will take advantage of the efficiencies of running one organisation where previously there were four. The Covid-19 pandemic has created significant challenges – both financially and operationally – and a response to Covid-19 remains a priority for the new authority. Despite these challenges we are recommending a balanced budget on the overall revenue account of £323.6 million.

While the wider transformation programme is on target to deliver in excess of £80m annual savings across all eight councils in Northamptonshire, in West Northamptonshire we plan to commence the longer term transformation of services as soon as possible.

The impacts of Covid 19 include higher demands on services, delaying the delivery of planned savings, delay in the transformation of services, the loss of income and reduced Council Tax and Business Rates collection.

Like all councils, West Northamptonshire will benefit from one off Government funding to help, however it is important we deliver long term sustainability and affordability to ensure services are fit for the future. In order to mitigate financial pressures, work has already taken place to alleviate impacts on social care and transform social care working to reduce care costs. This work will continue and we will look to drive wider transformation across our services and work with the Children’s Trust to ensure that they deliver their long term improvement plan.

This broader work will include reviewing contracts, income sources and assets but also identifying wider service improvements and cost efficiencies created by bringing the services together into a single tier Council as quickly as possible.

It is also proposed that the average Council Tax is increased by 4.99%, comprising 1.99% core tax and a 3% adult social care precept, which is the maximum amount permitted.

For West Northamptonshire Council this would mean – an average Band D level of Council Tax of £1,566.39 in 2021/22, an increase of £74.45 for the year or the equivalent of £1.43 per week when compared to average 2020-21 Council Tax levels across the West. This Band D figure does not include the Council Tax for individual town and parish councils or the Council Tax set for fire and police services by the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

The Shadow Executive also considered the 2021/2022 Housing programme. The estimated cost of managing and operating the Council’s Housing Stock is £54.7m which is funded mainly through housing rents.

In line with current national policy the budget includes a proposal for rent increases in 2021/22 of 1.5% on average for council house tenants.

The council proposes to deliver up to 200 new homes at a cost of £34.1m financed from the £59.8 million capital programme.

West Northamptonshire Council is focussed on becoming a greener and cleaner authority, a great place in which people can live and work, and visit.

The Council aims to recover and grow the economy, playing a full role as one of the largest authorities within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, while establishing strong and safe communities with good housing. We want our residents to have the best prospects and the skills to succeed and for children to have the best start in life.

Further integration of adult social care and health services is also key to the future, working towards a new way of delivering important services in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders. This makes sense as not only is there a financial efficiency but also it is much less complicated for people who want to access the services.

This consultation closes on 2 February 2021 after which we will analyse the results and develop final budget proposals which will go back to the Shadow Executive on February 12, 2021 and then onto the full West Shadow Authority for final consideration on February 23, 2021.

Your feedback on this consultation is really important to us.

All consultation feedback will be looked at, analysed and considered and will help Councillors make a final decision on the budget at the West Shadow Authority meeting on 23 February, 2021. This meeting is held in public. Anyone wishing to submit a question to the meeting must contact democraticservices@westnorthants.gov.uk by 10am on Wednesday February 17, 2021. Anyone wishing to submit a statement to the meeting must contact democraticservices@westnorthants.gov.uk by 7pm on Monday February 22, 2021.

Related Documents

Please read the related documents to gain a better understanding of the budget proposals before you comment on them.

Equality Impact Assessments (EqIAs) have been prepared for those new budget proposals that may have an impact on service users and/or the wider community. These are available on the Future Northants West website.

A lot of budget savings proposals relate to decisions that have already been made in previous budgets, the continuation of projects and financial adjustments to budgets with no service impact.

This questionnaire focusses on the new proposals for draft budget 2021-22 that will likely effect residents and service users. However, you can comment on anything within the Draft Budget in the comment boxes.

For further information, please see the Shadow Executive Committee Meeting Draft Budget 2021-22 and Medium Term Financial Plan report, and its appendices.

Have your say

Please tell us your views by completing this questionnaire. You do not have to answer all of the questions or give us your feedback on every section. If you do not wish to answer a question or give feedback on a specific section, then you can skip those questions and move on to the next section.

Your feedback will be part of a report with many other people’s feedback, so you will not be personally identified.

You can also access this online questionnaire free of charge at any Northamptonshire County Council library. Due to current restrictions, customers are asked to check the opening times of the library you wish to visit and book an appointment in advance. Please see the Library website or telephone 0300 126 1000 to check times and make a booking.

Alternatively, you can email or send your comments in by post using the contact details below, or by handing it in to one of Northamptonshire County Council’s libraries.

If you have any queries, comments or would like a copy of this questionnaire in another format (including paper, easy read or large print) you can contact us by email, post or telephone. Our contact details are as follows:

Email address: futurenorthants@northamptonshire.gov.uk

Telephone: 0300 126 1000

Postal address: 

  • Budget Consultation Response
  • West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority
  • Consultation & Engagement Team
  • One Angel Square
  • 4 Angel Street
  • Northampton
  • NN1 1ED

The deadline for completing this questionnaire is midnight 2 February 2021.

Thank you for helping us by completing this questionnaire.

Interests

  • Consultations
  • Council tax
  • Housing
  • Your council