Luton’s public finances affect each one of us and for that reason we are having an open conversation with residents about the coming financial year.
Each year the council has to plan its finances and make important decisions on behalf of the people of Luton.
This is in progress for the 2020/21 financial year which runs from April 2020 to March 2021.
We have to come up with a proposed budget that balances money coming in and out, while continuing to provide the wide variety of services residents need throughout the year.
We have to do this while still ensuring we deliver on our new vision and commitment to tackle poverty in the town. This is not a simple task.
How much do we need to save?
In recent years we have found £130m worth of savings and we 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 we need to find - you can read more about these by downloading the ‘Savings 2020/21’ document below.
We expect to need to save an additional £20m from 2021/22 onwards. These additional savings are yet to be identified and we will be consulting with residents this spring on how we can best achieve this.
The situation would be even worse if it was not for our 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.
At a glance
The headlines from our proposals are:
- 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
- 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 us continue supporting the most vulnerable in our community, we are also proposing to:
- apply the Adult Social Care precept of a two per cent increase on council tax to contribute towards funding care services
- increase council tax by 1.99 per cent to fund other services
This means an overall rise of 3.99 per cent, but still ensures 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.
Details of how we plan to achieve the 2020/21 savings are available to view in the document attached below.
To help us continue supporting the most vulnerable in our community, we 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 rise still ensures 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 (see agenda items 8 and 9).
Details of how we plan to achieve the 2020/21 savings are available to view in the document available to download below and also by visiting the online Executive agenda.
Have your say
Please take the time to read and share your views with us by filling out a brief survey by 24 January 2020 to give us an insight into some of your views.
As mentioned, we need to find a further £20m of savings from 2021/22 onwards and we plan to hold a series of town-wide consultation workshops later in the year in order to help us make the best possible use of our finances for the benefit of the town.
If you are interested in being part of these please email [email protected].