Council sets first ever self-sufficiency budget

Sevenoaks District Council has set a budget for the coming financial year which will see the authority become financially self-sufficient amid further reductions in its funding from Government.

From April, the Council is proposing to spend £13.7m on local services, £600,000 less than the current year, as the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) it receives from Government continues to reduce.

But despite a cut in funding, the Council will become financially self-sufficient from April, the first local authority in the country to do so, in that it will no longer rely on the RSG to run services.

This has been achieved without reducing the services used by local people. Instead the Council is improving efficiency and is generating new sources of income from property it has purchased over the past year.

As part of the budget, Sevenoaks District Council is increasing its share of the council tax by 2.6%, or an extra 10p a week (£4.95 a year) for the average household at council tax band D.

The average council tax for Sevenoaks District Council will now be £197.82 for the whole year.

Sevenoaks District Council’s share of residents’ council tax bill will be 12% with the remainder shared by Kent County Council, Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue and the local town or parish council.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of the Council says: “In the last six years the Revenue Support Grant we receive from Government has fallen by almost six million pounds as the country balances its books. In real terms this means the funding for every man, women and child within the District will reduce from £55.95 in 2010 to just £5.37 from April.

“But we’ve continued to reduce bureaucracy and make savings while raising income from our investments to bridge this enormous financial gap.

“From April 2017 the Revenue Support Grant we receive from Government will disappear completely and we may be expected to make a payment to the Government of £1 million a year by 2019, a form or ‘reverse grant’ if you will.

“But despite this, and thanks to careful financial planning and efficient services, we believe we are in a strong position to weather the continuing financial challenges.”

The council tax was set on Tuesday 16 February 2016 at the Full Council Meeting.