‘Decent’ budget will protect our services, says Luton Borough Council

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Councillors voted in favour of an annual budget with a 4.95% Council Tax increase on Monday.

Luton Borough Council’s protfolio holder for finance, Cllr Andy Malcolm described the budget as “decent” and said that was drawn up in the “national context” of government cuts, which had seen Luton lose £107m year on year.

He said: “I would say despite this context, we have a balanced budget and it doesn’t draw significantly on services.

“This is perhaps even more of an achievement when given the pressure we’re facing in some services.”

Key changes in the budget include

• A 1.95% council tax increase, which will contribute to an expected increase of £1.96m in council tax income.

• A ring-fenced precept of 3% of council tax to help meet the costs of adult social care, raising £1.92m.

• A loss of £7.7m in the Revenue Support Grantprovided by central government.

• Budget savings and income increases of £8.52m that impacts on the general fund net spend.

Luton Borough Council leader Hazel Simmon and deputy leader Cllr Sian Timoney, both praised the council’s Investment Framework hoped to pour £1.5bn into the town’s economy over the next 20 years, and Cllr Timoney described London Luton Airport as “the jewel” in Luton’s economy.

After discussion, councillors voted in favour of the 2017/18 budget.