New homes and business growth boosts South Norfolk Council’s spending power
A greater number of houses built and more income via business growth are the key reasons why South Norfolk Council is outperforming other authorities when it comes to spending power gains.
Following a central government announcement on local government funding cuts, some councils fear spending power could be cut by nearly nine per cent. Official government figures suggest its cut in funding to local authorities would see at most a 6.4 per cent cut, and a 1.8 per cent drop on average.
But South Norfolk Council will actually see its spending power increase by 1.1 per cent.
According to council leader John Fuller, this is firstly because of New Homes Bonus money paid to councils as reward to allowing house building projects to take place.
More houses also mean more revenue from its share in the council tax receipts.
Secondly, there has been an increase in the amount of businesses starting up, relocating or expanding in the district, which boosts council coffers via business rates, although the district council only keeps a certain portion.
Mr Fuller said: “This does not happen by itself.
“We are really focused on making the quality of life as good as we can so that South Norfolk is an attractive place for people to live and work.”
In the last 12 months, nearly 930 homes have been built in the district, most of them being in areas closer to Norwich. This approach is expected to lever just over £4.5 million of New Homes Bonus money to help boost council spending power next year.
Mr Fuller said by 2020 the council is budgeting to receive no central government grant at all.
In Breckland, the official government figures suggest that its spending power will drop by 4.5 per cent.
Breckland’s 2015-16 funding from the government was confirmed as being 15.1 per cent lower than in 2014-15, which has contributed to the loss in spending power.
Despite this it is still pledging to protect services and freeze council tax for next year.
The council says it has the lowest council tax paid to a district council in the country.
The councillor responsible for finances, Ellen Jolly, said: “Despite the reduction in grant funding, we will freeze council tax in 2015-16, as we promised to do in February. As a result of our carefully managed finances, we will be able to protect services and maintain a balanced budget.”
Spending power at Mid Suffolk Council is expected to drop by one per cent, according to government figures.
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