Published: Thursday, 18th Feb 2021

Bolton Council has agreed its budget for 2021-2.

Last night’s Full Council meeting agreed a 1.3% increase in the general council tax rate with a 2.5% rise for adult social care to protect those most vulnerable adults, as part of the budget for 2021-2.

It also agreed savings of £37.2m for 2021-3 with £32.3m in 2021/22 and £4.9m in 2022/23.

The savings are £2.3m fewer than initially expected last November, because of the impact of a public sector pay freeze, together with a slightly improved Collection Fund deficit in 20/21.

The council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday 8 had put forward recommendations for how this extra £2.3m would be used. It means that the council has been able to reduce the increase in the Council Tax and also reduce the savings required for some services.

“I am pleased that the Full Council has agreed the Cabinet plans for the budget,” said the Leader of the Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh.

“As a Cabinet we proposed to reduce the council tax rise needed to 3.8% and use the extra £2.3m we have available to protect vital services.

“We are protecting school crossing patrols, making sure that bin and litter collection services are not affected further, making sure the Albert Halls continues as a live venue, and reducing the impact of savings on other services to our most vulnerable.

“The past year has challenged the council’s finances like no other, but I’m pleased that we will receive an extra £9m to cover costs of the Covid pandemic in the coming year. This is on top of the £26m the council received in emergency payments in 2020 to meet the costs of dealing with the virus.

“Despite the tough pressures that we face this is a balanced budget with a reduced savings target than our proposals published in November.

“We don’t take the decisions lightly and started from a premise that we would like any council tax increases to be less, but we have to be realistic.

“We have listened to people’s concerns during the consultation and removed savings requirements that were causing real concern with people.”

The council tax comprises a number of individual elements.

The general levy is that part of the council tax which is used to fund any council service.

The Adult Social Care precept was introduced by the government in 2016/17 allowing those councils which provide social care to adults to increase their share of council tax by up to 3%.