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Gloucestershire Business News

Council approves £12.5m budget to help communities bounce back from COVID-19

At a full council meeting on Wednesday, Cotswold district councillors approved a net budget for 2020/21 of £12.5 million.

It is hoped the approved budget will allow the organisation to "invest in the Cotswolds to improve services, protect our environment and help our communities bounce back from Covid-19".

The budget was approved at Cotswold District Council's full council meeting on February 24, with councillors voting as follows; 20 for, 14 against, 0 abstentions.

Key elements of the budget include:

  • Supporting economic development within the district and preparing business cases for investment through its Recovery Investment Strategy
  • Continuing to work on strategic planning to ensure the council's updated Local Plan is 'green to the core' and develop a masterplan for Cirencester, meeting housing needs and acknowledging the challenge of the climate emergency
  • A £200,000 investment over two years in a new Civic Pride Programme to tackle environmental crime and improve its public realm
  • To plan and develop better, greener transport options across the district
  • Ensuring that the most vulnerable people in the Cotswolds have access to support and accommodation

Cllr Mike Evemy, deputy leader of Cotswold District Council and cabinet member for finance, said: "After nearly a decade of Government funding cuts this budget enables us to rebuild the council's finances so we can invest in the Cotswolds over the coming years.

"It recognises that this council is leading our district by addressing the housing affordability crisis, tackling the climate emergency and working to improve the vibrancy, strength and sustainability of our local economy as we emerge from COVID-19.

"The funding we have represents a challenge as the money residents pay in Council Tax only covers 15 per cent of the council's total income.

"This year, increases in fees and charges and council tax will generate £500,000 to support the vital services we provide to the district's residents, businesses and charitable organisations. We will also continue to support those who can least afford to pay Council Tax by maintaining our Local Council Tax Support Scheme."

Cotswold District Council's budget is funded through Council Tax, a share of business rates and government grants. Only 7.3 per cent of the Council Tax paid by residents comes to Cotswold District Council. The majority goes to Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Police with local town or parish councils receiving the remainder.

It uses its budget to provide a range of services including waste collections, leisure facilities, fly-tipping collection, tourism services and car parks among many others.

The Cotswold District Council part of this year's council tax bill will rise by 10p a week, or £5 a year for the average band D household.

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