We remain a financially strong and resilient Council
On 8 February, Elmbridge Cabinet, of which I am a member, will be asked to recommend the council’s revenue and capital budget and the level of council tax for 2023/24. We have been working hard to produce a balanced budget against a backdrop of high inflation, rising interest rates and increasing energy costs, all leading to increased costs for the council.
Our 2030 Vision will help us to focus on delivering the needs of the community. It is a vision that says despite the economic pressures, we will support and enable Elmbridge’s sustainable future, we will back our local businesses and we will enable our community to help us drive Elmbridge forward. To ensure our vision for Elmbridge is more than a strategy document, we have in place a transformation programme that puts us in a strong position to be financially sustainable in future years.
For 2023/24 we are setting a balanced and sustainable budget brought about through a determination to create savings within the council, without reducing service quality.
Our transformation programme is the means by which we shape Elmbridge for the future; it will enable our vision. This programme is already delivering savings which have contributed to the 2023/24 budget, including:
- A new leisure services contract with Places Leisure which will start in April 2023 and has secured savings of £200k in year one, while further enhancing facilities at the Xcel Leisure Complex.
- Through service efficiencies, our community support services will save £110k, while developing a connected community to help improve the lives of our most vulnerable residents.
Overall, for our 2023/24 budget, we have identified additional income and efficiency savings of £1.8 million, while using prudently held reserves to meet some of our spending pressures due to high inflation and the impact of operational changes; these include Surrey County Council’s recent decision to withdraw from our joint car parking enforcement contract, which will cost our Council an additional £400k a year.
Supporting our community as costs rise
We never forget that some of our residents are dealing with the cost-of-living crisis every day, and they need us now more than ever.
- Our 2023/24 budget continues to support our voluntary sector partners by providing core funding of £450k and,
- through our careful financial management, we can commit an additional £250k to the cost-of-living crisis fund,increasing it to £500k to help the most vulnerable in our borough. We are working with our voluntary and community group partners in Elmbridge to allocate this funding so that it reaches the people who need it most, as quickly as possible.
Investing in a sustainable and thriving Elmbridge
A sustainable and thriving Elmbridge, needs more than efficiencies and cost savings, it needs investment which is what we will be doing to support Elmbridge’s future.
- We have an ambitious capital programme where we plan to spend £4.2 million over the next 3 years, of which £1.6 million helps us towards our carbon neutral commitment, demonstrating our determination to work towards a sustainable Elmbridge.
- £1 million of this will be invested in decarbonising our fleet over the next 3 years, with £460K in 2023/24, as set out in the draft Green Fleet Strategy also coming to 8 February Cabinet. This investment is supported by Surrey County Council, as we continue to work in partnership towards a sustainable Elmbridge.
Protecting our community
Working with our partners at the Environment Agency and Surrey County Council, the Elmbridge Drowning Prevention Strategy, sets out to reduce the number of water incidents in the borough through training and improved awareness. Our 2023/24 budget commits £30k for 2023-2024 to deliver additional drowning prevention projects including free swimming lessons for 12- 18-year-old non swimmers during the summer delivered by Places Leisure.
Below inflation increase in council tax
For Elmbridge council tax in 2023/24 we are proposing a below inflation increase of 2.98%, which is an increase of £7.05 a year or 14p a week for a band D property.
We will continue to support residents struggling to pay their council tax.
The increased cost of living, global financial uncertainty and government policy changes means we will continue to face challenges to our financial position in the coming years. However, we have a strong track record of financial management, and we are confident that through our vision for the borough, backed up by the transformation programme, we will deliver a sustainable and thriving Elmbridge for our residents and businesses.
Cllr Ashley Tilling