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Dorset CDorset Council’s budget of £377 million for 2024-25 was approved by councillors at the full council meeting on 13 February. This continues what the council calls its ‘commitment to maintain frontline services, without the need for cuts to balance the budget’.

This year’s budget-setting exercise once again took place against a national background of extreme pressures for councils. These pressures include the high level of inflation which affects the cost of delivering council services, and also the continued growth in need for services provided for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Dorset Council says it provides around 450 different services to just under 380,000 residents.

While Dorset Council says it is not in the same financial position as many other councils across the UK, council tax will increase next year by just under 3 per cent and the adult social care precept by 2 per cent.

The increase is equivalent to £1.82 extra per week for a Band D property.

Councillor Gary Suttle, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercial and Capital Strategy, said: ‘We have developed this balanced budget in a national context of significant financial challenge. Our overriding aim is to protect the essential frontline council services on which local residents and businesses rely.

‘We welcome the government listening to our calls for more funding which have resulted in £3.9 million additional funding for Dorset Council as part of the settlement. This extra funding helps us protect valued frontline services in the short-term. However, like councils nationally, we still face a challenging financial position in future years.’

‘Since becoming a unitary council in 2019, we have made efficiency savings of £96 million. This money has been reinvested to protect frontline services, including funding the growing need for adult social care with our ageing population. Our prudent budget management has meant that Dorset has not faced the same cuts to essential services as many other areas.

‘We continue to lobby Government for fairer funding for Dorset so that we can reduce the burden on local taxpayers in future.’

Dorset Council says it continues to provide a range of support for those residents hardest hit by the cost of living including additional support for low-income households. ‘This includes our revised council tax reduction scheme which comes into effect on 1 April 2024, allowing eligible working-age households to claim up to 100 per cent of their council tax bill,’ said a spokesperson.

Residents can find out more about where the council’s money comes from, and how it is spent, on its website: dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/our-budget-explained.

See also:

Gillingham Town Council sets precept.

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