Leader’s column 29th Feb

29 Feb 2024
Martin Wrigley

This week has been Budget week at Teignbridge.  We have been facing questions on how we keep the council services running in the face of not having enough funds to do so.  If central government does as it has suggested, Teignbridge will lose over £3M more from our funding in a few years’ time.  This added to previous cuts and rising costs due to inflation and the cost of living, means that we do face a potential hole in our budget in years to come.

The council has budgeted for this expected cut and are changing and modernising how the council runs to be more efficient.  Councillors and officers are busy looking at every process, every activity and working out how they can be done even better, supported by a better IT, and include the residents in the process more too.  That is a big part of the plan for the future, but this week it has been a budget for next year.

We do have to put the council tax up.  The government calculates all of its funding on an assumption that the council raises council tax as much as it can.  For Teignbridge that will be 2.99% (way below inflation) and that would equate to £5.70 for the average home per year.  Teignbridge’s portion of the total council tax that each house pays is only about 8% - the rest goes to Devon County, police and fire services and your local town or parish council.

This year, with that £5.70, as well as maintain the bins and recycling collections, the leisure centres, our seaside resorts, public toilets,  parks and cemeteries, licencing and planning services, street sweeping, environmental health and a free pest control service,  the council has managed to budget to continue to support up to 100% Council tax relief for the poorest in out communities, supporting the voluntary sector including community transport, Citizens Advice and Teignbridge CVS.

We are continuing to build new modern council homes, the Teignbridge 100 programme that has delivered affordable and cheap to heat homes. 

This year we have managed to bring back the Blue Badge parking permit.  This permit will allow Blue Badge holders to park in any Teignbridge car park for up to three hours.

Also, we have maintained the Green garden waste collection service unchanged at £55 for the year.

Creating a Council Budget is a whole series of juggling acts.  In past years we would know what the Government funding was going to be for some years ahead, but now we only find out with a few weeks’ notice what we have available to keep the services going for the coming year.

The largest part of the council tax goes to Devon County.  This covers roads, social care and looking after Devon’s children and schools.

I think very many of us would agree that one thing the Government could do, would be to put more funds into repairing potholes.  Not just filling them up so that they wash out again in the next storm, but actually fixing them.  Now wouldn’t that be nice….