Cheshire East proposes to increase council tax by 2.99%

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Cheshire East Council is asking residents for views on the council's budget for the next financial year.

The council propose an annual council tax increase of 1.99 per cent for the next four years. As well as this, the government are expecting councils to increase council tax by a further 1 per cent to contribute to adult social care, taking it to an annual 2.99 per cent increase.

The council delivers many day-to-day services – including providing vital support to children and adults who need help, emptying the bins and managing the highways. It also delivers a range of projects, include becoming carbon neutral by 2025, building new schools and roads, information and digital technology projects and regenerating our town centres. The total value of these projects over the next four years is almost £400million.

The council's budget consultation sets out service proposals and financial plans for the period from 1 April 2022 through to 31 March 2023.

The council is responsible for managing a yearly spend of around £700million with an annual net revenue budget of approximately £321million, which is equal to around £16 per week for every resident living in the borough. The budget is funded from the council taxes paid by households and businesses, and some general government grants.

Councillor Amanda Stott, Cheshire East Council chair for the sub-finance committee, said: "The financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been huge. The council, like every other local authority, is having to deal with unprecedented financial pressures due to increasing demand particularly in social care and our statutory duties to protect our most vulnerable residents.

"The proposals show a balanced four-year budget to deliver the council's corporate plan priorities. It also outlines significant financial challenges that the council must tackle over the next year, including rapidly rising demand and costs for adult social care and those that are a result of the ongoing pandemic.

"Council tax only raises around one third of the money needed to fund the hundreds of local services we provide across Cheshire East.

"Council tax thresholds will remain at similar levels to recent years, with the increases remaining at 1.99 per cent. There is also an expectation from government that some demand growth in adult social care will be funded by a further annual precept of 1 per cent.

"Final confirmation of the threshold limits will be announced by government in December but for the purpose of presenting these budget estimates we have increased council tax in each year by 2.99 per cent to manage ongoing demand for services.

"The council wants to listen to all feedback on this consultation before coming to any final recommendation about how best to balance the funding we receive from government and locally raised income, with the rising demand for the services we deliver.

"Our draft budget prioritises critical frontline services and economic investment and, our ongoing recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. We will continue to redesign and transform some services to ensure maximum efficiency while protecting the most vulnerable, supporting our businesses and growing our local economy through this time of unprecedented financial challenge.

"I would strongly urge everyone to play their part, now more than ever before. We need to hear your views on our draft budget proposals, so we get an understanding of the priorities and aspirations for our services and local community."

The council is inviting opinions and views from residents, businesses, councillors, staff, town and parish councils, local community groups and other stakeholders. The feedback received will be used to inform the budget setting process.

To have your say and take part in our budget consultation, go to: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/BudgetEngagement

The budget consultation runs until 4 January 2022.

Following the consultation and after feedback has been considered, budget proposals will be refined and updated before the final budget is agreed by full council on 24 February 2022.

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Nick Jones
Thursday 25th November 2021 at 2:27 pm
Disgraceful...Were are once again victims of the highly efficient CEC cash grab but inefficient service supply machine.
Lets start saving some real money at CEC and reduce the wages /pension bill for starters !. This is not consultation its imposition. At least Dick Turpin has the good grace to wear a mask !
Terence Burgess
Thursday 25th November 2021 at 4:04 pm
Yet another increase, this on top of increases in food prices, gas and electricity bills etc.
Where will it end?
Alan Brough
Thursday 25th November 2021 at 4:49 pm
I think its time to merge Cheshire East and West Councils together.

The service delivery from CE Council remains (in most parts) very poor. Their performance on measurables like Road Maintenance, Infrastructure, Library Services and Cleansing is woefully poor. Meanwhile we are told that increasing amounts of money are going into Carbon Reduction and Adult Social Care - both very worthy causes but difficult to assess in terms of cost and benefit.

After the much publicised failure of numerous senior executives and the resultant criticism about high salaries and payoffs, they defended themselves by saying that in order to attract the best you had to pay the going rate etc. etc.

The evidence suggests that they've failed to "attract the best" and I'm afraid that any private sector business that sought to charge more and deliver less would quickly fail.

Why should it be different when the "Business" is financed with OUR money?
Mark Goldsmith
Monday 29th November 2021 at 8:21 pm
I understand why people think Cheshire East is inefficient and wasteful as this is another 2.99% increase on top of the 58% extra council tax has risen since 2013.

However, Cheshire East has not received nor spent this extra money. Their income and expenditure has only increased by 22% over the same period, which is roughly in line with inflation.

This is because in 2013, the government gave Cheshire East £56m a year to subsidise your council tax bills (about £430 per household in today’s money). Now it is down to nothing. So you have to pay £430 more to get the same local services. However, the government is now keeping the £430 it once paid towards your bill.

Therefore, you should ask Whitehall what they are doing with your extra money because Cheshire East are not spending it.


@Alan – Cheshire East & Cheshire West already share many administration services to maximise efficiencies. However, Cheshire West’s council tax is about +10% higher than Cheshire East’s and they also charge £40 a year for green bin collections too.

Therefore, I think a merger would deliver little in savings but a unified council tax rate would see our bills go up, while those living in Cheshire West would see theirs come down.


Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley
Vince Chadwick
Wednesday 1st December 2021 at 10:15 am
Thank you Mark. So the Tories have removed all of the £430 per household Council Tax contribution that was in place in 2013; it is now zero. Nothing. Zilch. Since we are a true-blue constituency, most council tax payers voted for this. It is 'the will of the people'.

However, since the funding to Cheshire East which was previously supplied by the Government has apparently been replaced by increased council tax charges, Cheshire East Council should be no worse off today than they were in 2013. As Mark says “their income and expenditure has increased by 22% over the same period, which is roughly in line with inflation”.

So if their income and expenditure are about the same today as they were back in 2013 after inflation despite the loss of central Government subsidy in the interim, what explains the state of our local roads? Why has road maintenance been so neglected? In fairness this does seem to be a national issue, though from personal experience ours seem worse than other areas of the UK I have visited.

Furthermore, Cheshire East, according to Mark's information, is more efficient than Cheshire West. However, this does not mean there might not be savings to be made by combining the Authorities, cutting duplication and reducing overheads.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 1st December 2021 at 4:32 pm
Hi Vince,

I’m not sure that I’d draw from Marks response that CE Council is more efficient, merely that they’re cheaper.

I think that our (measurable) Council services have been severely cut over recent years and I agree with you that our roads are in a particularly poor(in some cases dangerous) state of repair.

I certainly think it might be worth running the numbers to see if cost savings could be achieved by merging the two Authorities. It’s a little too simple to surmise that CE residents would pay more and CW less as this presumes that no savings are possible.
Simon Rodrigues
Wednesday 1st December 2021 at 9:24 pm
Omg what for another year of poor performance. Explain this why spend £10000 +. On a disused church in Wilmslow to fit fire exit lighting inside and outside. Makes no sense whatsoever hasn't been used in the last 10years that i know and still remains unused and uncared for. Very suspicious….

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