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Councillors rubber stamp 2024/25 budget with unanimous approval

22 February 2024

Growth and regeneration, supporting those who are struggling the most, and helping the city to become net zero are just a few of the priorities the council will be investing in following the unanimous approval of the 2024/25 budget. 

At the Full Council meeting last night (Wednesday 21 February 2024), every member in the Council Chamber supported the budget, which details how the council will spend more than £220m providing public services for residents in the new financial year.

These services range from ensuring the best start in life for children and young people, supporting older or more vulnerable residents, ensuring a safe and clean environment, maintaining parks and public spaces, collecting waste and supporting and improving public health.

The council is also at the forefront of investing in the future of Peterborough, growing the economy and creating homes and jobs for local people, protecting and enhancing the environment, supporting the transition to a carbon neutral Peterborough and strengthening vibrant communities, our heritage and culture.

Councillor Mohammed Farooq, Leader of the Council, said: “When I took charge of the council last November we were facing a £6.2m budget deficit, but with the hard work of councillors, cross-party, and officers we have managed to close that gap and deliver a balanced budget which provides the services that our residents need and invests in the future of our city. I would like to thank members from across the political spectrum for supporting the budget process and this week’s vote.

“This budget supports the cabinet’s priorities by investing in growth and regeneration, protecting the vulnerable, education and the environment. It tackles the issues that are placing huge demand on our budgets, for example, by investing more money into Children’s Services to meet rising demand and investing in a social work academy to reduce our spend on more expensive agency social workers.

“We will also continue our focus on growth and regeneration and attracting new employers to Peterborough, knowing this supports and bolsters our local economy and will provide more jobs for our residents.”

The 2024/25 budget sets out a number of areas the council will focus on, including:

  • Supporting people who are struggling the most, including through expanding our network of community hubs.
  • A continued focus on the city centre, making sure it is a place which is vibrant and where people feel and are safe. We will increase our workforce in the city centre to make sure that the issues that matter to people, such as anti-social behaviour, street drinking, littering, and graffiti are tackled.
  • Refocussing our adult skills service, delivered by City College Peterborough, so that it helps people with few or no formal qualifications or work experience to gain employment.
  • Continuing to develop our new Local Plan, which will set out our strategy and policies to deliver growth, alongside our new Housing Strategy.
  • Supporting the city to become net zero, which will help to reduce fuel poverty, improve physical and mental health, improve air quality, stimulate our economy, and provide jobs for the local area.
  • A continued focus on growth and regeneration, bringing forward development plans for a number of sites across the city, including the station quarter, the former TK Maxx building on Bridge Street, the Wellington Street and Dickens Street car parks, and the area known as Middleholme adjacent to the river close to the city centre.
  • Increased efforts to attract new employers into Peterborough, including those who can offer better paid and permanent employment opportunities.
  • Supporting even more people to remain independent for as long as possible, through technology enabled care and reablement services.
  • Developing a Shared Lives scheme to support adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems or other needs which make it harder for them to live on their own.
  • Investing even more money into Children’s Services to be able to meet the rising demand and improve the services that we offer children and families.
  • Developing three new hubs to meet the needs of children with Autism and Social, Emotional, Mental Health (SEMH) needs.
  • Improving and protecting the health of everyone who lives in Peterborough.
  • In September the council launched a budget simulator to give residents the opportunity to learn more about the breadth of services the council provides and to have a say on where they think it should be focussing its spending and making savings.

The budget is based on a 4.99% increase in council tax, which includes a 2% Adult Social Care precept which can only be spent on those services. For most households in Peterborough that means an increase of £1.18 per week.

Councillor John Howard, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance and Finance, said: “The financial challenge for all councils has continued this year and has been well documented in the media. With the sustained higher rates of inflation, we have seen the cost of delivering services rise, plus of course we are still managing high demand for services, particularly within children's services and housing.

“A key area of focus for the budget has been managing inflationary pressures and keeping a tight control over spending. Preventative measures and early intervention have also been a focus, to help manage demand for services. But there is a stronger emphasis on service transformation and economic growth and this focus will continue into the new financial year.

“The collaborative approach we have taken over the past few years and our journey towards financial sustainability must continue. It is in the city’s interests to remain in control of our destiny as we see the perils of intervention elsewhere across the country.”