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Gloucestershire Business News

Cheltenham prepares Covid recovery budget

Cheltenham Borough Council will put forward revised budget proposals for 2019/20 next week designed to deal with the challenges of Covid-19.

Council members will discuss recommendations on Monday to deliver a recovery that offers opportunities for renewal, improvement and sustainable communities.

Proposals include continued investment in lprojects such as The Golden Valley Development, £100million in housing investment and No Child Left Behind, as well as a renewed commitment to becoming a net zero carbon council by 2030.

Recommendations include approving:

  • A revised capital programme with identified asset disposals in order to produce a balanced General Fund revised budget for 2019/2020 and future years.
  • Additional budget and funding for Cyber Central.
  • Flexible use of capital receipts strategy.
  • The budget-setting timetable and the 2021/22 budget process.
  • The Housing Revenue Account revised budget for 2019/20.

Executive director finance and assets Paul Jones said: "The proposals set out in the revised budget, if approved, will allow us to take decisive action now, so we can continue to invest in our services, support economic growth in our town, and support residents - while maintaining our commitment to becoming the cyber capital of the UK, which is critical to ensuring that we achieve financial sustainability.

"Our pioneering solutions to budget pressures and our commercial strategy have put the council in a strong position to lead the recovery.

"Some of the council's assets have been identified for disposal to provide much needed funds to ensure the council is financially resilient this year and in the future."

Councillor Rowena Hay, cabinet member for finance, said it was essential to take action now to protect the financial position of the council.

She said: "We, like all other councils, have incurred additional costs this year as a result of the work we've done in response to Covid restrictions and the additional responsibilities that we've taken on - and we've also suffered a significant loss of income due to lockdown.

"Continued prudent, careful, yet bold decision making in our budget plans, along with our Covid-19 recovery plan, should go a long way towards ensuring the council has a solid financial platform to lead the recovery."

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