Eden stands firm on no bill increase for households

Date: Friday 16th February 2018

EDEN District Council agreed its budget for 2018-19 with no council tax rise or cuts to its services.

Eden is one of only a small number of councils in the UK not to have raised its share of council tax, with an average bill for a Band D property totalling £190.75 per year, or £3.66 per week, for Eden Council’s share. The budget, which was agreed at a meeting of the council on Thursday, also includes more money to support local communities.

Eden collects council tax from households in the district. The money collected is used to fund services provided by Cumbria County Council, Cumbria police, the district council and parish/town councils if they raise a precept.

Eden Council leader Kevin Beaty said: “Recently, the media has highlighted the challenging financial position many councils are facing.

“In Eden, we have not taken the easy route to balance our budget by simply cutting discretionary services such as parks, play areas and public toilets. Instead, we are listening to the views of town and parish councils about which services residents value and seeing if these could be delivered better and cheaper locally.

“This process is not straightforward and I thank everyone for their continued involvement. Ultimately this process will protect the services and assets communities value most. I would like to thank members and officers of the district council for their hard work in preparing this budget and ensuring this council continues to deliver value-for-money services.”

Measures agreed by full council in the 2018-19 budget include:

l Providing better access to council services through a digital transformation project.

l A new £300,000 fund to support services in local towns and parishes to benefit local residents and businesses.

l Supporting our ageing population through new initiatives such as Eden Active Fit 4 All.

l Embedding in the annual budget the Eden Community Fund grant scheme of £110,000 a year for all the parishes and local communities to apply for grants to support local projects and events.

l Devolution of local services to town and parish councils will continue to secure these valued services for the future, with funding support from Eden District Council to assist this happening until 2022.

l New renewable heating project spend of £150,000 to support renewable and local energy solutions.

l Investment in planning enforcement to have systems in place to secure full compliance with the planning policies and, through that, generating increased investment in development in appropriate places.

l Continue to support and improve alongside town and parish councils footway lighting throughout the district by continued investment in this service.

l Commitment to provide loans to a Registered Social Landlord through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund of £1m will be realised by 31st March, 2018.

Mr Beaty said: “This budget continues to provide funding for events and projects through the £110,000 Eden Community Fund, which is greatly valued by voluntary sector groups.

“By working hard to manage our finances we can make an additional £300,000 available to local town/parish councils to support their local initiatives. In 2018-19, the council has an ambitious programme of work including more new homes for local people and helping businesses to expand and create jobs.”