Borough council balances budget and announces 2% council tax rise

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council met on Thursday (22 February) to agree the council’s budget for the next year

Councillors have agreed Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s budget for the next year.

The council is forecasting a balanced budget for 2018/19, despite continuing financial challenges. Since 2015, the government grant for the council has reduced each year and there will be no government support grant in 2018/19.

For the coming financial year, the council is aiming to balance its budget against savings of £945,000.

Council tax rise

To do this, the council has agreed a 2% council tax rise a year. For the national average Band D property this works out as an increase of £5.96 a year.

For the Weymouth and Portland average, which is a Band B property, that works out as an increase of £4.64 a year, bringing the total to £234.17.

The budget has been set based on the council’s aims to protect services and deliver further efficiencies.

A balanced budget will also leave the council in a position of strength leading into the potential for a new unitary council to be set up in 2019.

Ambitious plans

Councillor Jeff Cant, Leader of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and briefholder for assets and finance, said:

“We’re looking forwards to a year in which we continue to deliver on our ambitious regeneration plans as we look at major projects to improve our borough.

“We will continue as we have done in 2017/18 to seek to free up funds by rigorously monitoring balances and reserves to enable the maximum investment into the community and the facilities for the borough.

“Our sound financial management will enable us to get the potential new Weymouth Town Council off to a good start as well as responding to the development aspirations of Portland Town Council. It will also put us in a good position to be clearly heard by the unitary council, if it is agreed to be set up in 2019.

“Our savings for this year to come will be achieved through working more efficiently and the savings made through our internal transformation programme. We have also agreed a modest rise in council tax. This is vital for us to protect local services and carry out our ambitious plans to improve the borough.

“My thanks to the tremendous efforts and commitment of our staff and the to the dedication of my council colleagues in what has been a very busy year. We have to keep up pace right up until the new unitary council takes over.”