IWC budget: Council tax could rise by 2.99%

The Isle of Wight Council has proposed a rise in council tax by 2.99% as it looks to save £5.5 million every year for the next three years.

The council published its budget plans at 3pm on Wednesday (October 31), outlining where it hopes to find the £5.5m for 2019/20 financial year.

They said their decision to raise council tax is in line with inflation, and that only 5% of the £5.5m will come from cuts to public services.

A further 60% of the money will come “efficiency savings”, which were described by Councillor Stuart Hutchinson, cabinet member for resources, as a re-tendering of contracts, in which savings were identified by suppliers of council services.

Council leader, Councillor Dave Stewart wants to highlight budget discussions as early as possible so the public are aware of the plans and can give their views on them.

He also asked other political parties to come forward with ideas to help balance the books and protect or enhance council services.

He added that this was just an outline plan, and nothing will be decided until February 2019.

Cllr Stewart said: “Just like all councils across the country, this council will have to make financial savings in the next financial year and this will be a challenge.

“The administration is not fighting shy of what this means and that tough choices will have to be made, but we have also an opportunity to be innovative and spend some money to make our services more responsive to need and efficient for the future with the use of technology.”

The leader stressed that the council is in a much better place financially than it was two years ago and that £11 million “reserve cushion” has allowed the council to purse a commercial investment strategy.

This strategy is giving the council close to £1 million a year in revenue.

They’ve also made a recent investment into Network Oxford which they hope will bring in an extra £150,000 in the 2019/20 budget.

Isle of Wight County Hall

Where is the council making savings?

  • The Highways PFI contract with Island Roads could save the council £1 million
  • Reconfiguring learning disability residential homes to allow people to live independently in their own homes
  • Revising the school bus contract to match current levels of demand
  • Benefitting from previous leisure centre investments
  • Expanding parking charges across the Island to be more “consistent”
  • Changes to adult social care packages so people can be sent home from hospital, rather than to a care home, or cause “bed blocking” in our hospital

The council is trying to save £5.5m a year for three years as it has a deficit of £16.5m.

The council claim they have made savings of £76m since 2011/12.