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Budget and Council Tax set for 2021/22

Members of the Council agreed to increase their part of the Council Tax bill by 2.7 per cent (£4.99) for the year 2021/22 when they met on Wednesday 24 February.

The increase means an average Council Tax bill for a band D property in Tunbridge Wells will be £1,967.73 - a total increase of 4.9 per cent. This is because of increases in the elements of Council Tax collected on behalf of other preceptors (notably KCC and Police).

During the meeting when the Council set the budget for 2021/22, members were advised of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Council’s financial position. Finance portfolio holder Cllr Dawlings outlined the loss of income as a direct result of the pandemic and explained that although there is government support, the Council will still have to bear a quarter of the expected £3m loss of income for 2020/21 and meet additional cost pressures of supporting the community through the pandemic.

A balanced budget achieved

Cllr Dawlings said: ‘Despite the difficult financial position imposed on the Council the controlled use of reserves has enabled a balanced budget to be achieved. The Council continues to provide a diverse range of services at an estimated annual cost of £66.6m and is always looking for further efficiencies and cost savings.’

Cllr Dawlings also congratulated and thanked the Council staff for how they had responded to the pandemic adding: ‘this has added to the Council’s workload in many ways including helping the shielded and vulnerable during lockdowns, making arrangements to accommodate the homeless and rough sleepers, the many additional demands on the Revenue & Benefits and Housings teams and the continuing work in channelling government grants to local businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors (some £30 million to over 2,000 businesses) and in arranging facilities for Covid testing and vaccination centres and booking of vaccination appointments.‘

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