We currently spend around £11m each year on a range of services for people who live and work in Hyndburn. People make use of our services most days.
Refuse and recycling collections, parks and play areas, sports and leisure, protecting the local environment, promoting economic development, improved housing and anti-social behaviour are just some of the services meeting your needs every week.
Most of the £11m is used to pay the staff that deliver our services to you, and the running costs of buildings, offices, vehicles and other facilities. This is what we call revenue spending.
We raise our revenue through the council tax or business rates you pay, charges we make for some services and, crucially, grant funding from the government.
In 2017/18 the Council increased its council tax for the first time since 2009/10. We increased our council tax again in the current year by £5 which is equivalent to 2.12%. The Government limits the amount by which we can increase council tax each year to the greater of £5 or 2.99%. This gives us additional council tax income of £103,000 per year. Last year we raised council tax below the rate of inflation, and since 1997 we are one of a few Council’s to have kept council tax increases below inflation over this period.
Since 2010 our government funding has reduced by 65%, equivalent to £4.6m. As a result of this, and other factors, we have had to reduce our spending by £10.8m over the same period. We’ve so far found most of these savings without making a significant impact on the visible frontline services you use. For example, since 2010, we’ve reduced our staff from 382 to 246. The majority of those jobs were staff who worked behind the scenes and in managerial jobs. As much as possible we have protected jobs in frontline services.
We’ve also worked hard to become more efficient and have found ways of doing things differently. We continue to invest in technology with the aim of becoming ‘digital by default’ providing customers with 24/7 access to a wide range of council services and information online.
We expect that our government funding will continue to reduce each year until 2021. As a result we estimate we’ll need to reduce our spending by around £3.7m over the next three years.
Clearly this creates a major financial challenge to the Council and we will continue to address these difficulties whilst attempting to minimise the impact on service users.
Our planned capital programme for 2018/19 is £4m compared to £12m in 2009/10, a fall of 67%. This is largely due to the available Government funding reducing from £11m to £1.4m in the same period.
To maintain a reasonable level of capital investment, the Council has been utilising more of its own scarce resources, including £2.6m in 2018/19. As these resources are scarce, the opportunity to maintain this level of support in the future will be dependent on new developments which may increase the value of capital receipts.