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Gloucestershire Business News

Inflation continues to put pressure on council's finances

Cotswold District Council's Cabinet has proposed a freeze on car park charges as funding from Government continues to fall.

As it proposes its budget for the next financial year, the council says inflation is continuing to put pressure on its finances.

Cllr Mike Evemy, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: "This year has seen large rises in costs for both residents and businesses as a result of Putin's war in Ukraine and the national economic turmoil.

"We appreciate the impact this is having on you. It has also had a big impact on the council's finances. We have seen large increases in costs for fuel to collect bins, energy to run buildings and other inflation-related pressures.

"Before Christmas, we had a good response to our budget consultation and we know that many residents recognise the financial challenges the council is facing.

"There were mixed views about parking charges. Having weighed these up, we have decided to freeze car park charges this year. We hope this will provide a welcome boost to local businesses and residents.

"Cotswold District Council has seen a decade of cuts in its core Government funding and again this year we have seen a real-term cut in funding.

"As your local district council, we are committed to caring for the Cotswolds in all we do. A key part of that is managing our budgets wisely, so we can continue to deliver the services you rely on.

"We are also an ambitious council that wants to invest in our district, but these difficult times mean we have to slow down the delivery of our ambitions to make sure we manage the council's finances very carefully.

"We want to make sure we come through the next two years in a strong position so we can continue the work on our priorities of responding to the climate emergency, strengthening our local economy and providing homes for rent that local people can afford."

Cotswold District Council's budget is funded through council tax paid by residents, a share of business rates and income from services like parking and government grants.

Only 7% of the council tax bills paid by residents are received by Cotswold District Council. The majority goes to Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Police with local town or parish councils receiving the remainder.

Cotswold District Council uses its funding to provide many services including waste collection, leisure facilities, fly-tip collection, environmental health and car parks, among many others.

The district council does not provide other services such as road maintenance, libraries, adult social care or public health which are run by Gloucestershire County Council.

The Cotswold District Council part of the 2023/24 council tax bill will rise by 10p a week, or £5 a year for the average band D household (£3.33 for band A rising to £10 for band G).

In Cirencester and Stow, standard parking rates in pay and display bays will remain at £1.70 for an hour and £3.00 for two hours while in Tetbury they will stay at £1.10 for an hour and £2.10 for two hours. Parking will also remain free on Sundays in council car parks where it is currently free to park on Sundays.

Cllr Evemy added: "We have had to make some difficult decisions in the face of our financial challenges. If you need help paying your council tax, please visit our website or call our customer services team to see if you are eligible for help through our Council Tax Support Scheme."

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