Progressing its aim to become a carbon-net-zero council by 2030 and promote a parallel ambition for the district as a whole, North Kesteven District Council’s Executive Board is looking to invest a further £1m in to its climate action agenda.
Coupled with the allocation of £1m in measures to build up reserves and resilience for post-Covid recovery and £1m for investment in leisure assets, visitor venues and broader economic activity, this additional £3m is a clear commitment in moving forward NKDC's ambition, investment, and delivery for a District of Flourishing Communities.
These proposals from the council’s Executive Board will move forward to Full Council on March 3, along with other recommendations to agree and progress the Council’s revised strategic plan for the period to 2025, the NK Plan, and its Finance Strategy.
On March 3, the council will also consider a proposal for the district council to increase its annual council tax charge by £4.95 to a proposed £179.95 for a full year at Band D, helping to maintain strong financial resilience and provide for ongoing delivery of excellent value-for-money services.
With less than 10 percent of the total bill being retained by the district council, for several years it has made similar small incremental increases of around two to three percent in its charge in order to plan over a longer-term.
This approach is central to its financial planning which has been highlighted through an external assessment as exemplar, striking the right balance and the sort of thing other councils should learn from. A recent Corporate Peer Challenge concluded that North Kesteven is ‘a strong, financially-secure and stable council’ well-placed to invest in what the area needs and ‘moving forward with momentum’.
Council Leader Cllr Richard Wright said it is through such careful and cautious financial management that the council is able to bring forward this unexpected additional sum, some of which had been put aside in anticipation of a change in the way councils are financed, in order to avoid any sudden shortfalls necessitating service cuts.
“Being of course very mindful of the increased costs of living and the importance of maintaining free and low-cost access to excellent services, such as our leisure and arts provision, countryside walks, support for those in financial hardship and various public protection and wellbeing measures, we are again proposing only a moderate increase in the level of our council tax charge. For three-quarters of households living in Band A to C homes, this will be a rise of between £3.30 and £4.40 over the year, to between £120 and £160 for everything the district council contributes to theirs and their communities’ lives.
“Equally, we feel it is important to lead in those areas where we can effect positive change, such as in progressing climate action and inspiring active lifestyles.
“By bringing forward this additional £3m, we will be better placed to invest in improving the environment, facilitate more cycling and active travel and promote opportunities for decarbonisation; to build the resilience of services impacted by Covid such as leisure provision and promote post-pandemic recovery; and continue investing in leisure and cultural assets like Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum, attracting visitors to the area and boosting economic activity.
“In these and many other ways we are extending and accelerating our aims and ambitions in support of our vision for ‘A District of Flourishing Communities’, giving more momentum to our carbon net-zero aspiration and connecting climate action into everything we do,” said Cllr Wright.
|Indicative rates at Band D||2022/23 level||2021/ 22 level||% increase||£ increase||% of whole|
The figures shown are indicative only. Final rates have still to be agreed by some of the precepting authorities/ bodies. Precise rates vary depending on parish precepts and whether footway lighting charges apply. Final sums will be shown in the Council Tax bill delivered mid-March and in the Council Tax Leaflet available at www.n-kesteven.gov.uk from mid-March.
A Band A property is charged at 0.6666 of a Band D; Band B is 0.777; Band C is 0.8888; Band H is double a Band D. In North Kesteven three-quarters of all homes are Banded A to C.