Blackpool council tax set to rise by 3% as £8.6m budget cuts are made for 2022 and 2023

Council tax in Blackpool is set to rise by 2.99 per cent this year, with town hall bosses set to withdraw a further £8.6million from the resort’s budget.

However, there are no mandatory job cuts this year and city services such as libraries and leisure centers have been protected.

There’s an extra £300,000 earmarked to keep the city’s streets cleaner and safer, including £100,000 for the new CCTV system.

READ MORE: Kirkham grandparents forced to use food bank to meet skyrocketing bills

Last year the council cut £20million, 40 jobs were lost and council tax was increased by 4.99%.

Financial increases this time include a £900,000 dividend from council-owned Sandcastle Water Park, which had its most profitable year in 2021/22 as holidaymakers returned to Blackpool.

However, there is no dividend from Blackpool Transport which has continued to suffer from the effects of the lockdown. The impact of Covid on the council’s general finances in 2021/22 is £3.7m.

In a bid to boost revenue, the council is proposing to raise parking charges for the first time in five years, which will bring in an additional £1million.

Cuts of around £14million were originally planned in the 2022/23 budget, but an additional £2million in government grants for social care helped close the financial gap.

A nationally negotiated pay rise for staff is also expected to be lower than expected, saving £3.3million on the wage bill.

Each consulting department also had to find efficiency savings of two percent.

Council leader Councilor Lynn Williams said: ‘We know the challenges our residents and businesses are facing as we emerge from the pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is cut services that are so much needed. .

“That’s why we decided to protect services and invest in those that are so important to people; tackling community issues such as cleaner streets and alleys and strengthening law enforcement.

“At the same time, the town’s regeneration continues apace and its ever-improving tourism offering puts Blackpool in a strong position to continue its post-COVID recovery and attract visitor numbers that will support the town’s economy. city.

Councilor Lynn Williams

“Every multi-million pound scheme we see rising from the ground, from the new homes in Grange Park to the hotel and tram terminus at Talbot Gateway, and the opening of the new conference and exhibition center at The Gardens of he winter creates local employment opportunities and better life chances for our residents.

“Every penny we spend is designed to help local people and we continue to work actively with partners in the public sector, the voluntary sector and the private sector to minimize the cumulative impact of years of central government cuts on people. who need and depend on our

The budget also includes an increase in revenue generation through contracts with external agencies and the streamlining of the council’s property portfolio, including moving staff out of the South King Street offices.

If there will be no forced layoffs, 15 temporary contracts will not be renewed.

Some voluntary departure requests will be accepted where they do not disrupt services and staff will also be asked to take a minimum of five days of unpaid leave.

The budget proposals, with total net spending of £160m, will be presented to the council’s executive committee on Monday, February 7.

The £8.6m savings include:

£200,000 saved on marketing budget which was carried over from last year when less was spent as Blackpool experienced a tourism boom with no need to advertise as people could not travel overseas.

A further £300,000 will be saved in the city’s tourism spend this year by delivering the events program more efficiently, although no events have been dropped.

The council’s catering service is expected to generate an additional £100,000 in revenue after winning more external contracts, including to supply meals to more schools, and is set to expand its offering.

It is expected that £700,000 will be saved on funding free bus travel as fewer pensioners eligible for free fares use public transport post-lockdown.

Nearly £1.1million is set to be raised through increased parking charges to bring the resort more in line with other tourist destinations such as York, although bosses say charges will still remain lower than most from other places.

There is also a saving of £1.2million in pension contributions due to the currently overfunded scheme.

Chief executive Neil Jack said Sandcastle Waterpark had “had its best year in terms of profits”, allowing the council to receive a dividend of £900,000, up from £250,000 in previous years.

High-spending departments, including children’s services and adult social care, are also hoping for small savings. Better family support aims to reduce the number of children in care, which is costly, while adult services expect to receive more government funding through the NHS.

The measures mean that working balances can also be replenished to a level of around £6million.

Additional money for services includes:

£300,000 for law enforcement, CCTV, street and alley cleaning.

£200,000 transport for children with special educational needs.

£150,000 in The Edge at Stanley Buildings on Church Street, for small business start-up units.

Housing tax :

The proposed increase of 2.99% is in line with government expectations and includes 1% for social care.

Councilor Williams said that despite the rise, Blackpool council tax remained one of the lowest in Lancashire.

Currently, average Band D bills are £1,997.

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