Statement from Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council
The budget proposals invest money directly into the frontline, helping us to deliver essential services to our communities.
It’s a budget full of opportunities and long-term possibilities for local people through more jobs, better housing, and improved access to education and skills, helping to grow ambition in our young people. We want to do this alongside striving to look after people and families who need help, recycle more of our waste, and repair our roads. We’re working on how to do all this more sustainably as we work towards reducing our carbon emissions to net zero.
Investing in areas that mean real differences for people and communities:
- £17.5 million in our frontline services, particularly Children’s and Adult Social Care.
- £77 million in new capital schemes to improve housing, schools, and roads.
- This includes an additional £2 million to address potholes and general maintenance to improve our roads and highways.
Council Tax is kept below the government’s maximum increase
We recognise the financial pressure on you and your families, so we’re proposing not to increase Council Tax by the maximum 5% allowed by the government.
The council’s element of the Council Tax is proposed to increase by 3.9%. This is broken down by 2% to support Adult Social Care and 1.9% to fund core services such as support for people that need it the most, schools and education services, maintaining open spaces, bin collections, roads, highways and street lighting maintenance.
This means that most households in Barnsley (bands A and B) will see their Council Tax increase by less than £1 per week.
We’re waiting on the Police and Fire service element of Council Tax to show the total amounts.
Support for you and your family
We propose to provide additional Council Tax support to around 24,000 households across the borough, which includes support funding provided by the Government Council Tax Support Fund.
People on the Local Council Tax Support Scheme will see no increase in their Council Tax bills. Some people on the lowest incomes will see a decrease in their bills as we’re providing a one-off grant to them.
If you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax and can’t access Local Council Tax Support, we have a Council Tax Hardship Support Scheme which might help people who are in financial crisis.
If you need help managing your money, utility bills, food and housing, employment and skills, and household support grants, please look at the range of help on offer on our More Money in Your Pocket webpage.
Planning now for the future
These proposals balance our budget for 2023-24 while continuing to invest in Barnsley’s communities. It’s an enviable position for most councils, but the process feels very different this year, and the challenges are like nothing we have faced in a long time.
This budget has been prepared against the backdrop of recovering from the pandemic, the cost of living crisis, energy and fuel costs, inflation, increasing demand for services, and the impacts of the government’s budgetary decisions.
Every year, we continue to serve our communities with less, and we must make tough decisions to balance our financial challenges with the income to fund the investments and drive Barnsley forward.
Our finances have always been well-managed, and we’re preparing as well as possible for these uncertainties and the different scenarios we may face, which puts us in a good position. This is a testament to our fantastic employees, their long-term planning, and their drive to think outside the box to create different ways of working.
Significant challenges are ahead, but we’re looking to the future to make Barnsley a place of possibilities for everyone.
The 2023-2024 budget proposals will be considered at Cabinet on Wednesday, 8 February, before being presented to Full Council on Thursday, 23 February. You can read the full report on our website.