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Council agrees tough budget for tough times – while continuing to invest in regeneration

Published on Monday, 6th March 2023

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council has set a balanced budget to ensure it is living within its means for the year ahead – while investing in the future.

At a Full Council meeting in February, councillors agreed total spending for the year ahead of £16.9 million and took steps to ensure its future spending is sustainable. At a subsequent Council Tax committee, councillors agreed to increase Council Tax for all households equivalent to an increase for Band D households of 2.99%.


Inflation, alongside huge increases in utilities and staffing costs in addition to changes in behaviour due to the pandemic have all combined to bring about severe losses in income.

As well as this, and alongside all local authorities across England, the Borough Council is facing an economy still suffering the effects of pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Significantly reduced funding from central government over the last 10 years has also created the need to generate savings and increase income to address this.


In 2022-23 the Borough Council faced significantly higher cost pressures than expected; for example, having to spend an extra £100,000 on audit fees, and due to the knock-on effects of inflation, covering a pay award of 5% when the original budget for this was 2.5%.

The economic slowdown has also affected income, with car parking charges generating income £550,000 below budget, markets income being £25,000 less than projected, and delays in renting out Town Hall offices costing £45,000.

All of these factors have led to an estimated in-year budget deficit of £905,000 for 2022-23 which has to be met from reserves.

The Borough Council will continue to face significant inflation, for example in electricity costs, which have increased by more than 100% to £1.9m across the authority.

BUDGET FOR 2023-24

Base budget projections for 2023-24 indicated that the Council would have a General Fund spending requirement of £17.3m, but that income from council tax and business rates would amount to £14.2m, which equated to a projected budget deficit of £3.1m.

However, using the measures set out below that spending/income gap has been addressed and a balanced and sustainable budget for 2023-24 on the General Fund has been achieved.

The Council has taken decisive action both inside the organisation as well as externally.

  • Council tax across the Borough will rise by 2.99% for Band D households under the new limit announced by the government in December.
  • Housing Rent will increase by 6.75%, lower than the cap of 7% set by the Government.

The Borough Council has worked hard to limit the impact on households where possible:

  • The car parking offer of three hours for £1.50 remains in order to drive footfall and provide economic stimulus for Nuneaton and Bedworth town centres. To continue to fund this offer however, some changes to our pricing structure have had to be made. Car parking on a Sunday will rise by 50p, long stay car parking tickets will increase by £1 over four hours, and season tickets will increase in line with inflation. This will help increase the Borough Council’s general fund income by £56,000.
  • Green bin charges will also remain at the same level across the Borough, with a commitment to lower these in the future if possible.


Councillors agreed additional spending to help unlock potential and improve opportunities for residents, including:

  • Arts Council England funding of £750,000 has been accepted and will be added to commitments from the Borough Council and County Council to increase cultural activity in the Borough and train young people in technical and artistic skills.
  • £20,000 has been set aside to ensure provision for celebrations across the Borough of the King’s Coronation


To reduce the impact on households further, the Borough Council has made a commitment to cut down on spending and make internal savings.

Some of these savings are the result of decisions that have already been taken, for example the successful transfer of the community centres will generate savings in the next financial year.

Action is also being taken by the Borough Council to reduce costs as part of reforms to improve its overall effectiveness:

  • £612,000 of expenditure savings to be implemented
  • £292,000 of vacant posts across the organisation to be deleted
  • Councillors’ allowances to be frozen – this means they will not increase in line with the staff pay award as in previous years
  • Spending on the museum, sports and community grants has been reduced
  • Bedworth Civic Hall will remain closed
  • A restructure of the Senior Management Team is taking place
  • A full organisation restructure is planned to make services and structures leaner and more focused on core priorities

To help meet the costs of making these changes, £1.3m of government grant called the New Homes Bonus, has been set aside this year as a reserve to provide resilience against future economic shocks, and to support reforms to the council's structure.


An ambitious Capital Programme of £82m for 2023-24 is being maintained, to address the pressing needs of our towns. The following commitments have been made:

  • The Abbey Street development – now named Grayson Place – is on site and progressing well
  • The Bridge to Living project delivering new homes in the Bridge Street area of Nuneaton town centre is anticipated to start in the next few months
  • An additional £25,000 has been added to the budget for the renewal and refresh of the Borough parks and play equipment in addition to the £50,000 included as a one-off in 2022-23
  • Funding to replace Bedworth Leisure Centre has been retained with every effort being made to secure funding to bridge that gap from other sources.

Cllr Samuel Croft, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate, said:

“We are taking urgent but necessary action to balance the books, support our communities, continue our regeneration, and reform our Council. With the global economic crisis bringing hard times for all of us, it has been the most difficult budget process in a generation.

“We are determined to tighten our belt to prevent any more impact on our residents. Where possible we have looked inside our organisation to save costs and make the Borough Council more efficient.

“We are also determined to to deliver on our programme of recovery, regeneration and revival for our town centres, parks and play areas.

“We are committed to the people of this Borough and have already made decisions which will stabilise our position in the turbulent years ahead and allow us to deliver on that vision.”