Have your say on Harborough Council budget proposal

Harborough District Council leader Cllr Blake Pain
Harborough District Council leader Cllr Blake Pain

The public can have their say on Harborough Council’s 2015-16 budget from this week.

The £11m-plus budget plan is available to view online after being approved at a meeting of the council’s executive on Monday night.

The budget was approved unanimously by the ruling Conservative group leaders after Cllr Phil King, the council’s portfolio holder for finance, told them it was prudent and with “solid footings and foundations”.

Cllr King said a potential budget black hole of £1.2m to £1.6m – caused by a reduction in money from both the government and Leicestershire County Council – had been closed by careful financial planning, and savings across the council.

And Cllr King pointed out it had allowed the freezing of district Council Tax – the contribution from ratepayers – for the fifth year in a row.

Councillors also outlined plans for investment, including £300,000 for community projects, £250,000 for small and medium-sized business initiatives and £250,000 to boost internet speeds in rural areas.

Cllr King said: “It would have been easy to salami-slice services, cut jobs or increase Council Tax, but we didn’t want to do that.

“Instead, we’re building on previous projects such as the redevelopment of The Symington Building and the market, among other services, which have created sources of revenue for the council.”

He added: “We’re committed to delivering high-quality services within the district, and we’re very keen that residents and businesses tell us their views on what we are proposing.”

Council leader Blake Pain said after the meeting: “It’s been a challenging financial year amid some of the most challenging economic times the country has ever seen.

“I think the executive members under my leadership have done an amazing job, and I think the public will see there’s something for everyone in this budget.”

Public feedback on the budget will be considered in advance of a full council meeting on Monday, February 9, when the finance plan is due to be voted on.

The deadline to make comments is Sunday, February 8.

The budget can be seen via the council’s website.