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Luton Borough Council

Setting Luton Council's 2024 to 2025 budget - have your say


Another challenging year for us all

The past twelve months have been difficult ones for everyone.

The cost of living crisis has continued for us all. Inflation has meant that prices in the shops are still rising and high interest rates are placing an almost intolerable burden upon many in Luton, who are struggling with some of their most basic needs. The difficulties we all face at a personal and family level have been felt for us as a council, as we seek to do our best for the residents of the town.

Local government facing unparalleled pressures

Luton Council, like many councils up and down the country, has been facing increasingly severe pressures on its finances over the past number of years. Price increases that affect each one of us, touch the council too. In addition, the growing demand for housing, adult social care and children’s services in particular are causing many councils to come under huge financial strain.

We do not believe that central government provides us with adequate funding for the many important services we are required to provide and residents rely on. At a time when people need more help and assistance than ever before, the gap between the resources central government are prepared to offer and the reality on the ground has never been greater. In the past twelve years we have already had £170m taken out of our budget meaning drastic savings year on year.

The challenge facing Luton

Put simply, the most recent financial settlement from government is not enough to allow us to help residents as fully as they deserve.

Each year, whatever the circumstances, we are required by law to present a balanced budget.

Every year as we set out our financial plans for the next twelve months, we are legally bound to balance incoming funds with outgoing expenditure. This means that yet again we are being forced into making decisions we wish we didn’t have to.

Demand for services has gone up

We are currently facing some very significant pressures, in particular:

  • £3m for temporary accommodation.
  • £2m for Special Educational Needs transport.
  • £2m for adult social care placements.
  • £2m for children placement costs.

Factors such as these mean we are left with no choice but to raise council tax by the maximum amount we are able to without holding a local referendum on the issue. In addition, we will have to raise charges for some of the important services we provide for residents.

Council tax to increase

Regretfully, we anticipate having to raise Luton Council’s share of the council tax by the maximum amount (4.99 per cent) we are able to do so without asking for a local referendum. At the same time the police and fire services are proposing increases to the amount residents pay them. This is collected on their behalf by Luton and will add a further increase to your Council Tax bill . 

Both of these vital services are facing serious financial challenges as we are. Even with the increase, Luton’s average B and D Council Tax is the lowest in Bedfordshire and we will continue to operate our council tax support scheme for those who are struggling the most and are not able to afford council tax.

In addition, we are looking at raising charges for some services, mainly in line with inflation.

Spending £215m on services, but savings cuts required

In the light of this lack of support from central government we will need to make sure that Luton’s core funding deficit of £5.3m is addressed over 2024 to 2025 in order to set a balanced budget. In doing so, this may result in rationalisation of some of our services. As always we will be looking at ways we can do this in a way that minimises adverse impacts on residents, such as through efficiencies and by raising income from external sources.

Despite these severe pressures, through the revenue we will raise through council tax, commercial income, fees and investments, we expect to still spend approximately £215 million in 2024/25 across the 700+ services that the council provides for the people of Luton.

Have your say

This is your town and, as always we are keen to talk with you and hear your thoughts as we face this financial crisis together.

See the 2024 to 2025 budget proposals in full.

Get in touch

If you have any thoughts, ideas of suggestions regarding our budget plans for the coming year please email us at [email protected]. We will respond to questions publicly, please check our website and the council’s social media for details.

© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ