Exeter City Council agreed to their ‘toughest budget’ in many years but one that puts the city in a best position to return to the ‘good times’.
Labour Group proposed a balanced budget for 2021/22, which includes a £5 a year rise in council tax, almost unanimously supported by cross party Councillors. A clear understanding from most Councillors of the significance of the challenges we face and how we can help the city recover.
In his Budget Statement, Cllr Phil Bialyk, leader of the council, explains how it not just balances the books and protects frontline services, but invests in the future of the city.
The budget was set against the extraordinary financial impact of the ongoing pandemic. As with many organisations and businesses in the city he pandemic has had a major impact on the council which also incurred additional costs in responding to crisis. This created an £12m shortfall and required significant savings to be urgently made during the year. Subsequently some of the lost funding was given by the government but £6m still remains unrecovered.
Cllr Bialyk said that the road to recovery will be a long one, but that the roadmap they have produced puts them in the best possible position to recover, and that the investment in the city centre, including the new St Sidwell’s Point leisure and the bus station, will act as a catalyst for redevelopment.
The 2021 Exeter City Council budget statement includes facts and statistics about our city that you may not know. Download a it using this link
This year’s budget speech highlights our response to the pandemic, which has affected every single one of us over the last 12 months.
It explains how, through working collaboratively with our partners, the Council we lead will plan to ensure that Exeter is in the best possible position to recover, and to be more resilient than ever.
These are extraordinary times, and the impact on the Council’s finances has been severe, just as it has for residents, businesses and organisations right across the city.
Extraordinary times demand an extraordinary response, and the way in which our Council’s staff have been at the forefront of helping people through the crisis and has been remarkable. Thousands of people contacted the support hub the Council set up at the start of the crisis to ensure help was there for all who needed it.
Volunteers right across the city gave up their time to help the vulnerable. They did – and are still doing – an incredible job.
The Council we lead has paid out government funds of more than £34 million in support grants to local businesses.
Throughout the crisis the dedication of 0ur Council’s staff meant it maintained every single waste collection round, every street sweeping round and all grounds maintenance work.
Our Council delivered social distancing measures to keep our streets safe and ensured all businesses complied with safe working practice.
Despite everything, we have much cause for optimism here in Exeter. This summer our Council will open a brand new leisure centre and bus station.
Achieving a long standing aim the Labour Group has led the Council to take the bold step of bring the leisure services back in-house so we can fulfil our aim of being the healthiest and most active location in the country.
We have a city-wide Recovery Plan in place which has been created in partnership with all the major organisations in Exeter.
And most of all, we have the collective strength of the community here in Exeter, which always comes together with a common aim, to bring success and prosperity to our city.
Exeter City Council