Waverley Maintains Frontline Services in the Budget

Waverley Borough Council last night approved its budget for the 2020/21 financial year. Since May 2019, the council has been run by an alliance made up of the Farnham Residents Group and Liberal Democrats plus smaller groups.

This year’s budget sets out how the council will maintain frontline services this year, while it seeks new revenue streams and further cost savings to replace the fall in funding from Central Government expected to continue over the next four years.

The borough’s portion of Council Tax is set to rise in line with inflation, by 1.9%. This, along with almost £1.9m in savings and new income over the year, will allow the council to balance the books, sustain current service levels and importantly, protect funding for our essential community and voluntary partners.

The budget sets aside £300,000 this year to help make the council carbon-neutral by 2030, following the declaration of a climate emergency by the council in September last year. Spending plans also include £2.6m for maintenance and investment in Waverley’s parks, playgrounds, other green spaces and leisure facilities.

Income from the borough’s 5,000 council houses is ring-fenced for spending on housing, and this year will fund £5.6m in improvements to the existing stock and £12.9m investment in building new council homes.

Through a great deal of hard work, we’ve achieved a balanced and fair budget, with no reduction in service levels or in the grants to our voluntary sector partners, who help us support the most vulnerable members of our communities.

This year we’ve identified £1.9m in savings and new revenue. But if we don’t find the extra money and savings we need in time, we will have to cut costs beyond the point where services could suffer. So the council will also be calling on the Government to freeze, if not reverse, its unfair funding policies.

This year the council democratically involved the public and all interested parties in order to arrive at a budget that considered the needs of all.

It demonstrates what the Farnham Residents Group believes in, and the way we conduct ourselves is balanced and fair for the people of Farnham.

Long may it continue!

Peter Clark


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