Council tax set to rise in Burnley as council looks to balance the books

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Council tax is set to rise in Burnley as councillors meet to agree a series of reports to help set Burnley Council’s proposed budget for the coming year and how it will meet its financial challenges.

The papers also set out investment in major projects over the next five years and a broad approach to balancing the books.

The national government has determined how far district councils such as Burnley can increase the level of council tax. The proposed budget would see Burnley Council working to the limit set nationally, which would mean an increase in household council tax bills of 1.99%.

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This approach is in line with that being taken by many other councils and means that Burnley Council’s share of the council tax bill for a Band D property would be £318.49 for the year – an increase of £6.21 from the current level.

Council tax is set to rise in BurnleyCouncil tax is set to rise in Burnley
Council tax is set to rise in Burnley

The majority of the full council tax bill for a household is made up of payments to Lancashire County Council (to cover work such as education, social services and highways), the police, fire authority and – in areas with a town or parish council – a ‘precept’ to cover their running costs.

The reports include details of the financial implications of the council’s decision to invest in the future of the borough through major schemes such as the Pioneer Place cinema and leisure complex, and its acquisition of Charter Walk shopping centre in Burnley.

A number of growth items are set out in the proposed capital programme, including creating a one-off budget of £140,000 to implement a range of initiatives to maintain a clean, safe, attractive and environmentally-friendly borough. This will include working more closely with residents as well as increased enforcement and cleansing work in “hot spot” areas.

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The council is also set to put aside a further £51,000 to support its work on combating the climate change crisis and reduce its impact on carbon emissions and the environment as a whole.

The reports highlight that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the 2022/23 budget and future years is unknown. The ongoing financial support given to local businesses is helping to support the local economy; however, it is unclear what the impact will be once these support packages end.

Coun. Sue Graham, the council’s executive member for resources and performance management, said: “The council understands that rises in council tax have an impact on the budgets of households across our borough. .

“We’ve had to increase our share of the overall council tax bill in order to ensure we can maintain essential services for our residents. However, for the majority of our residents the increase amounts to less than 10p a week.

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“The council is committed to driving forward our borough and it’s pleasing to see work starting on the Pioneer Place cinema and leisure development which will bring more visitors to Burnley and give the local economy another boost.

“We are proposing to set aside money for the coming year to work with residents to improve their communities and carry out further work, on top of what we’re already doing, to help clean up local streets and public areas.

"We are an ambitious council and our financial planning reflects that ambition. We have faced severe challenges for many years, and we don’t see that changing in years to come, but that won’t stop us from driving forward to make our borough a better place or divert our priority to deliver high class services to ur residents.”

A report on the current year’s capital spending programme reiterates that the council is confident that it will be on budget by the end of this financial year in March.

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The reports will go to the council’s scrutiny committee, and then to its executive which will make recommendations for final debate and approval of the 2022/23 budget by full council later this month.