Council Tax increase for Copeland, with no reduction in services


Copeland Borough Council have announced that they are to deliver a budget for the year 2020/21, with no cuts in services. Council Tax is however increasing by 1.95%.

Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie said:

"For the fifth consecutive year, Copeland Council are delivering a no cuts budget.

"Despite a reduction in Central Government funding of £2.5m over that same period and the strain that puts on finances, we have yet again avoided reducing any of the services we provide to our residents.

"To the contrary, the last five years have seen an increase and improvement in the services delivered by the council with increased funding for areas such as street cleaning, considerable investment into bereavement services and investment into IT that is supporting the council’s continued drive towards greater efficiency.

"One of the real successes of the last five years has been the investment in our staff which has resulted in all vacancies being filled by employees, an improvement in retention and, significantly, a move away from expensive consultants and interims. 

"This has - and continues to - improve stability, consistency, transfer of learning and one of the benefit of all staff being employees is they are personally invested in improving council services.

"We are also restricting the rise in council tax to 1.95% for the fifth year running to maintain our commitment to keep council tax increases below the retail price index which in real terms means that over the last five years the tax burden on residents from Copeland Council’s share has reduced.

"Also over the last five years, the increases on fees and charges have averaged approximately 2% annually which again is below inflation and which is a significant reduction from the period 2011 to 2015 when fees and charges were increasing at more the 4.75% annually.

"Another big plus since 2015 is that we have increased the amount of retained business rates we keep by more the 50%, we will continue to develop Copeland’s 'Open for Business' culture and continue to encourage the view that Copeland is a great location and environment to both establish and relocate businesses, and we will look to significantly increase our income from business rates that results from an improving business economy.

"We are also pressing ahead with our accommodation strategy as we will soon be free of the PFI which has been a financial millstone that will now instead of being a financial pressure will be a revenue asset.

"Once again, in a very challenging environment, we have delivered a budget that protects services and keeps cost increases to a minimum; it is a budget that is completely aligned to our corporate strategy that was designed to deliver on manifesto commitments.

"In terms of the corporate strategy, we have also laid out a framework for protecting and improving services into the future through a robust commercial strategy which is not only essential for future funding but will also by key in unlocking the millions of pounds the government is injecting into local communities through the Future High Streets Fund, Towns Fund and Borderlands deal that look set to benefit every town in the borough.

"We will continue also to develop the strong relationships we have built with partner organisations that have already helped us construct and deliver the most comprehensive social programme ever in Copeland to protect and support the vulnerable in our community. 

"I believe our programme of support to the most vulnerable is unequalled anywhere in the UK and it will always remain a key priority of this council.

"The council is also able to present a compelling case to government in advance of the fair funding review to ensure our settlement reflects our needs and circumstances based on evidence and facts and not just a sense of entitlement, we can now clearly articulate how government money will be spent wisely and not wasted in Copeland.

"Copeland will also continue to be a driving force for local government reform and devolution which is key to bringing investment into the County and supports the Prime Minster's agenda of levelling up of powers across the north and makes sure we are well positioned to benefit from the promised substantial government investment into Northern communities.

"This is a good budget for the whole of Copeland and lays a platform for continuing growth and improvement right across the borough."

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Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Council Tax increase for Copeland, with no reduction in services
Council Tax increase for Copeland, with no reduction in services
Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria
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