Council agrees a balanced budget to support Kingston’s Covid recovery
Kingston Council has approved a balanced budget for 2021/22 that will support the borough’s residents and businesses to recover from the pandemic, and invest in the future.
After an extraordinary year in which the Council has faced unprecedented financial challenges because of COVID-19, Kingston has managed to present a balanced budget for 2021/22, continuing to support the most vulnerable in our community whilst also protecting the everyday services which everyone in the borough relies upon.
Despite receiving support from government to cope with the pandemic, Kingston Council has been left with a Covid shortfall of £4 million. This comes in the context of huge financial challenges for Kingston even without COVID-19. Back in 2010, the Council received £66 million from Westminster but now it receives nothing from the Government for its central budget.
During the pandemic the council has invested over £12m to provide assistance with food and prescription deliveries, to tackle loneliness and isolation, as well as provide mental health and wellbeing services to vulnerable groups and children. The council has also administered over £31m in grant payments to local businesses struggling as a result of the national lockdowns and restrictions.
The budget includes a 1.99% increase in council tax and a 3% increase in the adult social care precept, which will mean an average weekly increase of £1.55 per household. This will help support the growing costs of providing care and support to vulnerable adults and children, the rising demand for council services, and the £113.3m investment the council is making in Kingston’s infrastructure over the next four years.
Cllr Andreas Kirsch, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Commissioning, said:
“After a year filled with challenges and uncertainty, this budget makes clear our commitment to providing a sustainable path to recovery for Kingston. We know that we will continue to see increased demand for support, which we must balance with the impact Covid has had on the council’s finances. We will provide our services in a more efficient way whilst creating the best outcomes for our residents. We have to remain financially cautious, as responsible budgeting is important to secure the financial stability of the council and its future.
“We are committed to working more closely with residents and businesses to shape Kingston’s future. As we continue to adapt our services to meet the changing needs of the borough, we want to ensure everyone has a voice in the decisions we make and the changes we implement.”
Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Kerr, said:
“We understand the difficulties people have faced this year and know that any increase in council tax will have an impact. Unfortunately our financial position means an increase is necessary if we are to protect the services residents rely on and continue to provide the support our most vulnerable residents need.
“This budget will make it possible for us to deliver the investment that Kingston needs. In the months ahead we will be ambitious in our vision for the borough, but also be cautious to provide a safe and sustainable path towards recovery.”
More information about council tax can be found at www.kingston.gov.uk/counciltax