On Tuesday, councillors set the budget for the financial year ahead and outlined how North Somerset Council will retain, protect and improve services.
There will be investment in projects which support community infrastructure, business, tourism and cultural recovery, the climate emergency, active travel, and improving outcomes for vulnerable adults and children.
Coronavirus changed things locally, bringing new social, health, environmental and economic challenges, but despite this the budget sets out the commitment to building an open, fairer and greener organisation on a sound financial footing.
Services that will help communities recover and thrive will be protected, while investment will be made in projects to improve people’s quality of life.
- developing and improving technology so local residents can live more independently in their own homes
- working with health partners to support mental health recovery, investing to bridge the gap for people who need additional mental health support
- increasing carers funding so more carers can access respite, allowing them to take a break
- developing family hubs at children’s centres to make them more suitable for activities
- continuing to improve services for children with additional needs and their families
- recruiting more foster carers
- improving support to care leavers so more are helped into employment or education
- investing £5m in a green investment fund to support environmental projects
- investing an additional £150,000 to support the climate emergency and green recovery, which will enable specific investments or larger-scale projects to be scoped
- promoting and encouraging active travel to support the climate emergency targets and encourage healthier and active lifestyles.
- investing in the ‘Great Lakes’ – the marine lakes in Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare, and Portishead Lake Grounds
- continuing support to leisure centres to re-open and for residents to return to the gym
- supporting the continued regeneration of Weston’s seafront
- investing in local transport infrastructure, including delivering the MetroWest scheme with the West of England partners and re-opening the railway line from Portishead and Pill into Bristol
- investing in schools, such as the Winterstoke Hundred Academy and Baytree expansion at Clevedon.
North Somerset Council remains a low-taxing council overall. Similar to many other councils, it will be increasing council tax by 1.99 per cent, with an additional 3 per cent added on specifically for adult social care, for the 2021/22 financial year.
Savings of £7.5m have also been identified in the budget, and the council will continue to lobby government for fairer funding.
You can watch the budget setting meeting on the council’s YouTube channel.