Have your say on Luton Council's finances

Members of the public are invited to share their views on Luton Council's budget plans for 2020/21.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 5:36 pm
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 5:37 pm

Information about the budget and a short survey has been published on the council's website, and the council is inviting residents to discuss the plans in person with councillors and senior managers at an event at The Mall Luton, on Tuesday, January 7, and Wednesday, January 8, from 10am till 4pm.

In recent years Luton Council had to find £130 million of savings and they have identified £10.5m of savings for the financial year 2020/21. Of this amount, £7.5m was agreed in last year’s budget but will be delivered this coming financial year.

A number of new proposals will make up the remaining £3m - you can read more about these at luton.gov.uk/20-21budget.

Town Hall

The situation would be worse were it not for the council's ownership of London Luton Airport, the council gets a dividend each year from its airport company to fund vital services. As the airport grows, the dividend increases.

Last year £20.2m of this was used to fund front-line council services such as care for vulnerable children and adults.

The headlines from the council's proposals are to spend £250m on everyday services like waste and recycling, highway maintenance social care, housing and education, invest £302m in new housing, improving and expanding our schools, traffic management and safety programmes and ground breaking infrastructure schemes, and deliver £10.5m of additional efficiencies.

This is all set against a backdrop of increasing demand for adult and children’s social care and the increasing cost of residential placements for children with complex needs.

To help the council continue supporting the most vulnerable in the community, they are also proposing to increase council tax by 3.99 per cent, of which 2 per cent is made up of the Adult Social Care Precept which contributes towards funding care services.

This still means that Luton maintains the lowest per household council tax rate in Bedfordshire and one of the lowest per head of population among unitary councils in the country.

Cllr Andy Malcolm, portfolio holder for finance, said: “It is important to remember that the money the council has is to be used for the benefit of Luton’s residents.

"We want to make sure we take time to listen to what people have to say as we face another challenging few years where more savings need to be found.

"I hope as many people as possible will take this opportunity to come and meet with us to talk about our finances.”

The council wants to know what residents think about the council's budget plans.

If you don’t manage to speak to the council at The Mall you can complete the questionnaire online by Friday, January 24.

Alternatively you can email your views to [email protected] or contact your local councillor.

With a need to find a further £20m of savings from 2021/22 onwards, the council plan to hold a series of town-wide consultation workshops later in the year in order to help them make the best possible use of finances for the benefit of the town.

If you are interested in being part of these please email [email protected]