Liberal Democrat-led Council succeeds in balancing the budget and protecting local community services and facilities

1 Mar 2024
Budget documents

During a Full Council meeting on 28 February, the Liberal Democrat-led St Albans City and District Council passed its budget and Council Plan. The agreed budget succeeds in protecting much loved and well used community facilities and services across the district, in the face of ever depleting funds given to local authorities by central Government.

All councils must present a balanced budget by law, each financial year. With rising costs and reduced government funding leaving a budget shortfall of £2.4m, the Liberal Democrat-led District Council drafted and presented a budget that minimises impact on residents and protects as many services and activities as possible, whilst ensuring the available funding is focused on the most vulnerable members of the community.

In doing so, the Liberal Democrat administration has been able to keep open the district’s two swimming pools at Westminster Lodge and Harpenden Leisure Centre, large performance areas at the Alban Arena and the Eric Morecambe Centre, as well as its museums.

Liberal Democrat District Councillor Paul de Kort, who leads on the council’s finances, said: ‘’We are satisfied that we have succeeded in balancing the budget in an equitable and considered way, despite the funding constraints imposed by this Conservative Government.

‘’We have produced a budget that considers all our residents’ interests, protects our local services, and focuses our limited discretionary funding on those who need it most.”

Jacqui Taylor, Liberal Democrat District Councillor and Chair of Housing and Inclusion said:
‘”The cost of living crisis and the failure of the Conservative government to address the housing crisis in this country are hitting some people very hard. Councils are on the frontline of both the human and financial cost of this. Homelessness is a statutory duty and the need for this service is projected to triple in net cost to the St Albans District Council this year compared to last. This budget prudently ensures we are able to continue to provide that safety net in the coming year in the face of the financial pressures and sadly rising demand.” 


The budget for the district council’s Housing Revenue Account was also agreed. This is the ringfenced account for council-owned homes and is financed by rental payments from tenants rather than Council Tax. 


Jacqui added: “I am pleased we are pressing ahead with insulating council tenants’ homes and installing solar panels under our social housing decarbonisation programme, which is supported by grant funding from our successful bid to the government grant scheme. This keeps tenants’ energy bills lower than they otherwise would be in addition to the environmental benefits. 


“There is also £13m for new social housing which is focused on building more 3-bedroom homes to try and alleviate some of the overcrowding for families in smaller properties. These 1 and 2 bedroom homes are then freed up for others waiting for a home. It is also important to maintain the housing repairs service and there is investment of over £11m so all council tenants can have a decent home to live in.

“We will continue to navigate the imposed cuts and ensure that we protect our most vulnerable during the worst cost of living crisis in recent history.’’

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