At a Full Council meeting last night, Conservative Mayor, Tom Wootton’s first budget was approved by the Council, receiving cross party support.
The Mayor and his Executive took extensive steps to consult all parties on potential considerations and concerns with the budget, ensuring a budget with strong backing from the Council.
This isn’t just the Mayor’s budget, it is a positive and ambitious budget for the all residents of Bedford and Kempston and represents a commitment to investing in the future of our Borough with critical funding for GP’s, the extension of free car parking and other much needed initiatives.
The budget will also ensure the Council continues to safeguard and deliver frontline services to residents, whilst managing spiralling costs and ensuring that the Council remains financially resilient.
Mayor Wootton’s budget for 2024/25 will fund a number of his Administration’s key priorities, including:
- Continuing the roll out of 4 hours free parking in Borough car parks, in order to encourage more people into our town centre
- A regular programme of town centre events, again to draw more visitors into town
- An improved cleaning and maintenance regime in the Borough
- Improvements to the standard and accessibility of public toilets
- Money for school improvements across the Borough
- Better maintenance of trees in streets
- Improved recycling, including trials for doorstep glass recycling and food waste recycling
Councillor Graeme Coombes, Portfolio Holder for Finance commented,
“I thank the Council for supporting a Budget that will address unprecedented financial challenges and protect vital services for our most vulnerable residents.
Councils of all political persuasions from Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour to hung and Independent are under considerable financial pressure. This has forced us to make some really tough decisions for the Council going forward. In order to protect critical demand-led services we have increased Council Tax by 2.99%, as well as an additional 2% for Adult Social Care, so that our most vulnerable residents, be they elderly or children, can be properly supported and cared for.
We have a budget that is positive, that looks to invest into our Borough and take it forward, a budget with ambition, drive and passion.”
Mayor of Bedford, Tom Wootton commented,
“Firstly, I would like to thank all the Borough Officers and my Executive for helping put this budget together which, as many will know, comes at a time of great financial pressure.
As Mayor, I vowed to be as open, transparent and consultative as possible, and I am pleased these efforts have resulted in a budget that has received cross party support.
This isn’t a Conservative budget it is a budget for the whole of Bedford Borough and it is chock-full of great and positive news for residents. From improved maintenance on roads and bridges, more GP surgeries and better Council services this budget will be stepping away from cuts and moving Bedford Borough forward in a positive direction.”