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Council budget to invest more in green projects and flood protection

Rushcliffe Borough Council’s (RBC) forthcoming budget is still delivering services with new proposals to invest further in green projects and protect residents from the impacts of flooding.

The authority’s Council Tax level will again be the lowest in Nottinghamshire (for a Band D property an increase of only £3.93 or 2.55% or just 7.5 pence per week) subject to Full Council approval after its Cabinet met to discuss its budget earlier this week (February 13).

It also remains debt-free and is the only Council in Nottinghamshire that is not incurring the costs of expensive borrowing.

Its Council Tax charges are expected to remain in the lowest 25% in the country and again the lowest in the county whilst ensuring there is a continued environmental focus and prioritising the safety of residents responding to flooding emergencies.

RBC’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance, Transformation and Governance Cllr Davinder Virdi said: “This budget demonstrates our ability to ride a number of financial storms, come out of the other side and continue to deliver excellent services.

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“We believe to have one of best financial positions of any Council in the country but remain realistic and not triumphalist, appreciative of the stark challenges many of our peers are facing and that we also share.

“Both past and current sensible financial decisions, including the fact the Council remains debt free, means we will continue to deliver excellent services to our community and have low council tax levels.

“With recently additional government funding we propose utilising £100,000 of the Government’s Funding Guarantee for the Climate Change Reserve that could see us further improve our green spaces within the Borough as we work towards a Carbon Neutral Borough by 2030.

“We are also looking to set up a £28,000 Flood Grant and Resilience Reserve to help local properties in flooding emergencies and address gaps we see in the current national guidance when the national flood scheme is in operation.

“The funding will also re-invigorate the existing flood resilience store grant scheme to assist communities in managing floods in their local areas.

“We still have to take difficult decisions but we are maintaining high levels of service and not cutting back on them. The budget supports the most vulnerable such as the homeless and balancing other objectives.

“Rushcliffe remains a great place to live and work with excellent leisure facilities, highlighted by the opening of Bingham Arena last year and the ongoing investment in Keyworth and Cotgrave leisure centres.

“We remain committed to delivering on the Council’s growth agenda and supporting businesses. This includes the Council’s ongoing commitment to the Freeport and helping to develop the Ratcliffe-on-Ssoar power station site.

“There are still many potential economic and financial challenges ahead but we know where we are, where we are going to and how we will get there with continued astute and well-informed decision-making that continues to deliver high-quality services.

“The proposed budget is in a time of significant pressures and real terms decreases in funding but is in conjunction with RBC continuing to embrace opportunities that support the economic growth and development in the Borough and maintain discretionary services valued by residents.”

A Full Council meeting on March 7 will discuss the Cabinet’s proposed outcomes.

•  Rushcliffe: Debt-free council balances budget despite cuts in funding

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