East Herts Budget 2021/22
Like all councils, East Herts is facing financial challenges and over the next four years we need to find ways to save money or generate income to bridge the £4 million gap in our finances. We also no longer receive money from the government known as the Revenue Support Grant to support the delivery of our services to residents.
Although COVID-19 means that this year our plans are less certain than usual, we are still required to set a budget in March, which will include:
- our spending plans for the year ahead
- the areas where we plan to make efficiency savings
- our planned Council Tax increases
The full detail of the plans and draft budget proposals are spelled out in the Budget 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 to 2024/25 Report to the Executive Committee of the Council.
It's quite a long and complicated document, so here are the summarised headlines, with a focus on the plans for 2021/22.
East Herts Council has a clear vision for the district and we are setting our budget for the next financial year to deliver our priorities. Visit our Vision and Corporate Priorities page to view our corporate plan.
Response to COVID-19
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the council has continued to provide vital services to residents and businesses.
- Paid out business grants and support payments to individuals and businesses
- Provided support and accommodation for homeless people
- Supported Hertfordshire County Council's voluntary support programmes - Operation Shield and Operation Sustain - which provided vital help to those most in need.
The cost of COVID-19
The pandemic has placed a huge strain on the finances of East Herts Council. The issues caused by the pandemic means we have less money coming in and more going out, including:
- The extra cost of delivering emergency COVID-19 services and support
- Reduced income from council tax and business rates
- A fall of income from car parking
What we are proposing
We only get to keep 10p of every £1 of council tax collected but also receive money Government grants, fees and charges, and other sources which enable us to maintain our statutory services such as housing, parks and open spaces, and waste and recycling.
Some of the other services we provide to support people across the district include:
- Community wellbeing and Healthy Hub East Herts
- Social Prescribing service
- Business advice and support
- JobSmart scheme getting people back into employment
To gain some further understanding of how residents view our services we carried out a short online survey in late 2020 entitled 'What do residents think of East Herts Council Services?'. The survey was completed by around 700 residents and the feedback was taken into consideration when looking at how we can protect and adapt some of our services moving forward.
We are also looking at ways to generate income and transform the way we operate internally. Some of the proposed changes include:
- A £5/year council tax increase in 2021/22
- Introducing a garden waste charge from 1 April 2021
- Changing car parking tariffs from 2022
- Combining some litter and dog waste bins
- Make council office receptions 'digital'
- Use technology to create better online access to our services
- Review operating costs and get better deals from new contracts
- Build upon the home-based working that has been necessary during the pandemic so we spend less on offices, printing and travel costs.
When the budget is approved, any of the proposals which could result in significant changes affecting residents or staff will be subject to individual consultations before a final decision is taken.