Stevenage Borough Council meets to decide budget


- Credit: Archant

Stevenage Borough Council was set to approve more than £1.1 million in savings to balance its budget last night (Wednesday).

Councillors were due to meet to discuss savings for 2014/15 at the first full council meeting of the year.

Following a survey conducted in December, in which 39% of residents said an increase in council tax would negatively affect them, the borough council was set to agreed to freeze their proportion of the tax for the fifth year in a row.

However despite 43% of respondents saying the introduction of new parking charges would “affect them a lot”, SBC plans to earn approximately £86,000 from these new charges – including on roads nearby Lister Hospital – to offset a loss in Government funding.

The council also plans to reduce spending on environmental services, such as grass cutting and litter picking, by approximately £8,000.

SBC leader Sharon Taylor said: ““We are now facing a fourth year of stringent, unfair and unjustifiable reductions in our funding from the government. But here in Stevenage, we will not just accept government cuts and pass them on to our communities. These continuing economic challenges have motivated us to get closer to our customers, reconsider their needs and act in new and creative ways. This year, we’ve taken a new approach to budget planning and we believe this will enable us to provide better outcomes for less money.

“Unfortunately, because of the extent of government cuts, our budget will include some unpopular moves – fees and charges will go up, some grants will be reduced, and we are forced to make a number of redundancies at the council. This is regrettable but necessary if we are to maintain a stable financial position.

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“We are continuing to support our communities and do good things for the town. We will use the spirit of co-operation that built this town to work tirelessly for the people of Stevenage.”