Protecting City Council services

The Government continues to tackle the deficit in the national budget, which means less money is available for local authorities.

Winchester City Council will lose another £1.4m of its annual funding in the next year, with all grant-funding ending after that.

The Council has to become self-sufficient in generating funds to ensure that service levels are maintained.

In facing these challenges the Council is concentrating on four main areas:
• Doing things better (transformation savings)
• Finding new ways of generating income (income strategy)
• Using its assets to gain better returns (asset management plan)
• Sharing in wealth created by a vibrant economy (growing the local economy)

The City Council will also consider an increase in average band D council tax for district residents of £4.34 for 2017-18 to protect frontline services.

Residents of the Winchester city area would see their bill increase by an additional £1.90, in line with their ‘special expense charge’.

Cabinet will consider the increase on Wednesday 8 February with full Council set to vote on the budget on Thursday 23 February. Any City Council increases would be combined with precepts set by Hampshire County Council and other authorities to make the final council tax bill for 2017-18.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, said:

We must consider these increases to protect frontline services that are essential to many and improve quality of life for all – housing, community safety, collecting rubbish and recycling, parking, animal welfare, food safety, tourism, sport and many more.

The grants Winchester City Council receives from central Government stop next year. By careful planning we have absorbed much of this change - reducing the net cost of delivering services and sourcing new funding, including an enhanced investment strategy.

Winchester is likely to remain in the lowest third of districts nationwide for its level of council tax.