Creating a council ‘Fit for the Future’ dominated discussion at the latest meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet, held over two nights, Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 February.
Watch the webcast
Cabinet endorsed a recommendation for Full Council on 20 February, increasing Epping Forest District Council’s share of Council Tax by just 2.99%, the equivalent of a 9p per week increase on an average Band D property. The decision followed a report exploring options for closer working relationships to improve services across North Essex, but particularly with Braintree District and Colchester City Councils.
Finance Portfolio Holder, Councillor John Philip started with the third quarter financial update including the capital receipt from the sale of employment land at North Weald. Mapping out a long-term strategy starting with the 2024/5 budget, Councillor Philip and Council Leader Chris Whitbread outlined proposals to invest a reserve of up to £3 million in the Council’s ‘Fit for the Future’ Portfolio.
Fit for the Future
A combination of higher costs and lower income is affecting councils across the UK. While Epping Forest District Council is taking the opportunity to build its capital reserves, ‘Fit for the Future’ will support the continuing evolution of services and close the gap between income and the costs of public services.
Councillor Philip said that capital receipts provide flexibility on the timing of changes as well as protecting some of the discretionary services most valued by the public such as additional police officers and the Highway Rangers.
More budget information on the website
- Reluctant Annual Council Tax increase for a bold and ambitious district – Epping Forest District Council (eppingforestdc.gov.uk)
- Google deal announced as Scrutiny reviews budget – Epping Forest District Council (eppingforestdc.gov.uk)
New housing policies
Other items on the agenda included updates to a range of new housing policies. Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Holly Whitbread provided details on the latest Home Ownership and Independent Living for Older People strategies as well as the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan.
Recognising the importance of a pragmatic approach, Councillor Holly Whitbread reminded fellow councillors of new legislation as the business plan looks up to 30 years ahead. The Council remains ambitious with plans to maximise the delivery of new affordable housing while maintaining investment in existing stock including kitchen replacements, new boilers and thermal insulation.
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