Budget approved at Full Council

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council approved its budget for the financial year ahead (2021/22) at a meeting of Full Council (Monday, 1 February).

High View CGI

The final budget includes no cuts to frontline services despite the impact of Covid-19 on several of the council's income streams.

The council will bridge its budget funding gap through £960k in efficiency savings from service, contract reviews and increased income.

The council will receive a new lower tier services grant of £124k to help fund increasing pressures on local services provided at district level, such as homelessness, planning, recycling and refuse collection, and leisure services. Core grant funding from central government will continue to reduce as it has in previous years.

The five-year capital spending programme sets aside over £18m for investment in town centre regeneration, the revitalisation of High View neighbourhood centre in south Hatfield, a new crematorium and the redevelopment of Tewin Road depot in WGC in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council.

The council will continue to invest in providing affordable homes, with over £70m reserved for the Affordable Housing Programme and over £52m put aside for investment in existing council housing stock.

A council tax rise (1.97%) will help the council keep up with the rising cost of providing services, with Full Council agreeing to increase council tax by £4.23 to £219.15 for the average Band D property.

A budget amendment for up to £25k of additional funding for stricter enforcement of verge parking regulations was passed unanimously.

Councillor Duncan Bell, Executive Member for Resources, said:

I am confident this budget will deliver on our priorities and ambition for the borough, even though we have had to find substantial savings and make some tough decisions.

Despite the disruption of Covid-19, we remain committed to investing in our communities and making Welwyn Hatfield an even better place to live, work and spend time.