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Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council sets budget for 2021/22

Published on Monday, 22nd February 2021

Renewed commitment to regeneration, and a strategy to tackle climate change are at the heart of proposals for council spending in the next year.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council agreed its budget including its council tax precept and a programme of capital spending, at the full council meeting on Monday (15 February).

Council chiefs say uncertainty over the impact of COVID-19, combined with the government’s late Spending Review and Local Government Finance Settlement announcements has resulted in an extremely challenging budget setting process for the council this year.

Revenue spending

The COVID-19 pandemic has, and continues to have a significant and

unprecedented impact on the Council’s financial position. Forecast spend pressures related to COVID-19 for 2020/21 are £1.8m, which are largely related to increased homelessness demand, purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and increased leisure management costs. The Council’s income has also been severely impacted, with the estimated loss of income for the year currently standing at £2.5m.

To reflect the Council’s commitment to tackling Climate Change, growth

of £60,000 will also be included in the budget to provide some resource for the Strategy and Action Plan 2021/22 and future years.

Although government funding towards COVID-19 has helped ease financial pressures, it has not been sufficient to cover all costs and income losses.

The budget assumes that some of the financial impact of the pandemic will continue into 2021/22. This includes car parking income, which the Council has assumed will only be at 50% of its pre-COVID-19 levels, and homelessness demand. A reserve of £250,000 has also been created to provide a cushion against any further impacts of COVID-19 over the medium to long term.

Council tax

In order to protect essential frontline services, the Council agreed to a 2.1% rise in council tax for 2021/22, an increase of £5 per year for Band D properties. Most residents in the borough will pay less than this, as over 80% of properties are in Bands A-C. This means that a household in a Band A property will pay £162.44 for 2021/22, which is £3.34 more than this year.

The Borough’s proportion of the Council Tax bill is now only 12%, with the County Council making up 75.5% and Police Commissioner 12.5%. The County Council has approved an increase of 3% and the Police and Crime Commissioner an increase of 6.3%, or £14.99 per year on a Band D property.

This means that the total Council Tax bill for a Band D property will be £2,030.13, an overall increase of 3.29%.

Capital spending

A draft Capital Programme for 2021/22 of £38.6m has been agreed. The programme in 2021/22 has been significantly increased, mainly to provide Town Centre regeneration projects. The Council aims to use the investment to progress the Transforming Nuneaton Masterplan and help kick-start recovery from COVID-19. The investment will also go toward projects which will provide substantial savings over the long-term. The projects include:

  • Abbey St Regeneration

Bring forward Phase 1 of the Abbey St Masterplan including hotel and car park elements, plus early design for Phase 2. The budget of £16.8m will be financed by borrowing and the governments Future High Streets Funding (FHSF) will also support the development once the final allocation has been confirmed.

  • Bridge to Living Regeneration

Bringing forward the regeneration of the Bridge Street area in Nuneaton town centre, also funded from FHSF. The project will convert under-used retail space to create a multi-use area including small start-up workspaces, residential properties, and riverside opportunities for businesses serving food and drink.

  • Sub-Regional Materials Recycling Facility (MRF)

Provide funding to the company being established to build and operate the Sub-Regional Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Coventry which will improve recycling and reduce the Council’s overall recycling costs by at least £200,000 per year.

  • Public Sector De-Carbonisation Scheme

The Council has made a bid for £640,000 to the above Government scheme to enable it to replace all the single glazed windows in the Town Hall with double glazed units.

  • Transforming Bedworth

A programme of work entitled Transforming Bedworth has begun looking into the potential for drawing greater inward investment to Bedworth town centre.