Epsom & Ewell Borough Council set its budget for 2022/23 yesterday evening (Tuesday 15 February 2022) at a Full Council meeting.
In setting the budget for 2022/23, councillors have agreed a 2.38% increase to Council Tax (borough council portion) – this is the equivalent of 9.5p per week for the average band D property or £4.95 per year. This means that Council Tax for this borough remains below the average for Surrey.
Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Colin Keane, Chairman of the Strategy & Resources Committee stated: “In spite of all the challenges this council has faced during the pandemic we have not cut the services we provide to our residents and, in some instances, we have increased services and support to our residents, and we will continue to do so in the year ahead”.
Councillor Keane highlighted the independent auditors’ favourable report on the management of the Council’s finances to date and stated that “A combination of prudent investment and financial management means this council starts the new financial year with a balanced budget”. The auditors’ positive comments also cited robust governance and financial sustainability as well as securing value for money.
Councillor Keane noted the council’s property investment which is expected to provide nearly one million pounds of net income to help to provide essential council services in the next year. One of the Council priorities in the coming year is to invest in Heritage Arts and Culture for the borough.
The funding for the budget comes from several sources including income from council commercial business ventures, council charges and fees, business rates, government grants and Council Tax, which Epsom & Ewell Borough Council also collects on behalf of Surrey County Council and Surrey Police.
Surrey County Council has agreed a Council Tax rise, including Adult Social Care, of 4.99%. The Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner has set an increase of 3.5%.
The percentage of their overall Council Tax being paid this year by residents to the Borough Council will be 10%, Surrey Police will receive 14% and 76% will fund Surrey County Council activities.
Councillor Keane added “We know some residents have suffered financial hardship through reduced wages and work opportunities, and with the anticipated increase in cost of living and acute rise in fuel costs these hardships will continue. However, the modest increase in the borough council element of the Council Tax provides the services needed by our residents and ensure those who are most disadvantaged are helped appropriately”.