Budget to be reviewed after cuts in grant

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Fylde Council will again have to closely review its budgets following the announcement of the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2017-18.

The Government is cutting the amount of New Homes Bonus monies paid to district councils such as Fylde, with the money being diverted to support adult social care costs and paid to upper tier authorities such as Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council instead.

Fylde says the result for them is significant – with an estimated reduction in New Homes Bonus funding over the next four years totalling almost £1.3m when compared with previously estimated income levels.

The bonus is a significant proportion of Fylde Council’s funding from Government, and is linked to the number of new properties built in a council’s area.

Coun Karen Buckley, Fylde Council’s deputy leader, who chairs the finance committee, said: “While we recognise the pressure that Adult Social Care budgets are under, the decision to cut New Homes Bonus funding has a significant impact on councils like Fylde.

“The reduction to our funding in 2017-18 alone is almost £500,000, which is substantial when you consider that our net annual spend is around £10m per year.”

“That said, our record in delivering highly valued services, finding savings and making efficiencies is a good one and we have avoided having to slam on the spending brakes as a number of other councils have done”.

“We will consider the impact of this latest cut in funding closely as we examine new ways of working and of investing to generate much-needed income to continue the quality services on which our residents rely.”

The council will set its annual budget, including council tax levels for 2017-18, at its budget meeting on March 2.

Earlier this year, Fylde councillors agreed a small increase in its portion of the council tax for 2016-17, equating to just under £5 average for Band D residents, after five successive years of Council Tax freeze.

The Town Hall’s total £9.371m expenditure for this financial year includes forecast savings of £638,000.