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Copeland Council's budget bucks national trends

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COPELAND Council is bucking national trends in its budget for the forthcoming year, a new survey has revealed.

The annual Local Government Finance Survey, published today, reveals that three-quarters of councils nationally are increasing council tax for 2019-20 by more than 2.5 per cent, and one in 10 will have an increase of more than 5 per cent; Copeland Council’s rise will be only 1.95 per cent.

The survey, carried out by the Local Government Information Unit and the Municipal Journal, also reveals that, in contrast with Copeland Council, a number of councils nationally will be reducing waste collections (22 per cent), recycling collections (11 per cent) and homelessness support (11 per cent).

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “This report confirms what an outstanding achievement it is for Copeland Council to produce a budget with no cuts to frontline services for the fourth year running. That includes no cuts to waste and recycling services, or homelessness support, that is being reported elsewhere.

“Not only are we not cutting frontline services, we are actually investing in them in terms of recycling, street-cleaning, tourism, bereavement services and IT.

“Times are tough, but we are keeping our council tax rise low, in contrast to the majority of councils elsewhere in the country, and even elsewhere in the county, as this report shows.

“In addition to keeping council tax down, our fees and charges have increased by an average of only 1.97 per cent annually over the last four years, against a 4.88 per cent increase over the previous four years.

“I am so proud of the huge progress this council has made, and of the councillors and staff who have made it happen.”

Copeland Council voted to approve Mr Starkie’s budget proposals at its Full Council meeting on February 4.