Thanet council budget proposals include 10 new street cleaners and public toilet refurbishments

Council leader Rick Everitt

Employing 10 new permanent staff to improve street cleaning, taking on a new climate change officer and reversing plans to cut spending on public toilets and invest in a refurbishment programme instead are some of the proposals being made in Thanet council’s 2020/21 budget.

There are also plans to build at least 40 new council houses, increase council tax on long-term empty homes, increase the levels of recycling and upgrade the fire safety measures in all of Thanet’s high rise blocks.

Some £400,000 has also been added to the budget for homelessness.

To help fund services TDC plans to increase its element of council tax by £4.95 – equating to a weekly rise of around 10p  for an average Band D property.

Budget challenges

The report, which will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (January 14), sets out the council’s financial position for the year ahead and how it will allocate the £17.1 million budget pot to fund services during April 2020 – March 2021.

The budget pot is made up from council tax, fees and charges, retained business rates and Government funding.

Thanet council faces a budget black hole of upwards of £1.5 million. The shortfall comes amid plunging income from Government. The Revenue Support Grant to Thanet from central government was £97,000 for the 2019-20 financial year. In 2018-19 it was £809,000 and in 2017-18 the grant stood at £1.446m. This is compared to £6.636m in 2013-14.

A one year settlement of £100,000 has been made for 2020-21. Plans to end the government revenue support grant from 2020 have now been rolled forward to 2021.

Cabinet members will consider a series of suggestions for increasing income and for making savings.

Council leader Rick Everitt said: ”Despite significant funding reductions in recent years, the council is continuing to consolidate its financial position. We now get almost no Revenue Support Grant from central government, which means we have had to deliver our services with less and less help each year.

“Given the real challenges that many of our residents face that is particularly difficult for this council, but we have still produced a balanced draft budget. I’d like to thank officers and members for all of their work to achieve this and for identifying savings which neither provide a need for compulsory redundancies, nor adversely impact on the priority services we provide for local people.”

Plans for £730,000 of savings include scrapping the Waste & Recycling Education Officer post and the Open Spaces supervisor post and a predicted increase in green waste collections and income from fees and charges.

Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Rob Yates added: “Cabinet has taken a fresh look at the council’s finances and is proposing a forward looking budget that we hope addresses the needs of the residents, whilst putting in place a plan for growth in public services.

“Key wins include a new Climate Change Officer, 10 new permanent staff to improve street cleansing, plans to build at least 40 new council houses, increasing Council Tax on long-term empty homes, plans to refurbish multiple public toilets and increasing the levels of recycling. We hope that this budget will be supported cross party as it aims to invest in Thanet, improve our services and best support our community for the future.”

Thanet District Council receives 13p in every £1 of council tax. The remainder goes to: Kent County Council, Kent Police, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Town/Parish Councils.

Following the Cabinet meeting, the draft budget will be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for comment on Tuesday, January 21 and then go to Full Council on Thursday, February 6 for final approval, before implementation from 1 April 2020.

33 Comments

  1. At last, signs of change are in the air. Even with continuing cuts in the money coming down from London.(Aren’t we supposed to be expecting a “new Golden Age” any time soon? So why won’t the Tory government urge local Councils to start repairing all the damage and neglect of the “austerity” years?)

    Might it be that Johnson was just blagging us with all this talk of “new opportunities” and Brexit success? And the next few years will be just as dire as the last few.
    But, at least Thanet DC seems to be trying its best with limited resources.

    • Correct Keefogs! Boris (the proven liar) Johnson will only do something if it rewards his business mates, or for himself! Yes please, more street cleaners, we could employ one permanently in my road! We held a celebration just after Christmas when a street cleaner appeared on a sweeping machine, I think he was lost! By the next day it didn’t look any different, with empty cans, and rubbish from people who are baffled by Velcro, and who fail to close their Red Bags properly.

      Otherwise good on you new TDC council, best try and get the message out to the voters what a brilliant job you are doing!

  2. Sounds great but will it come too fruition and maybe something could be done about all the blocked drains!

  3. Well done it sounds very encouraging. To raise extra money boat owners / trailer owners / caravan owners / car transportation trailers and trailer tents should have to purchase a permit to park their contraption on the public highway.
    There are far too many of them parked for months on end on the highway. They pay no tax not insured with no reflection.

  4. Budget black hole of £1.5m and lots more new spending commitments made. Plans to raise more cash and make more savings are a complete pipe dream and will add to the huge budget problem in the future. I mean, aiming to improve recycling by scrapping the Waste and Recycling Education Officer post ????

    On a positive note, at least this is making external government intervention in the running of TDC far more likely much sooner which can only be a good thing as an alternative to the clowns who are currently around the top table.

    • Perhaps its predicated on every council tax payer opting to pay for two green wheely bins for garden waste. Whilst simultaneously everyone recycles perfectly and no one drops litter.

  5. If residents want THANET to have nice clean streets, working public toilets and live in an area that they are proud of then the residents and businesses have to pay towards it. That in turn will bring more visitors to the area and increase the revenue to the council and businesses. The alternative is what we have seen for the past 10/12 years public toilets boarded up and THANET looking like a run down not cared for bushes growing in the gutters disgusting tip. It’s very easy to balance the books and tell residents how much money the council has “saved” if the council don’t spend any.
    To make an area look cared for and nice to live in takes planning and understanding.

    • Ann, I think you find the public do pay towards it…….Council Tax & Business Rates, other towns and cities manage to keep public toilets open and the streets clean without raising those two items that are already a high cost for the public and business’s.

      The issue is the council wasting money and spending money on the wrong things. Just take a look at how they have spent money in the last decade, the issue is certainly not the public and business’s not paying enough!

      So in your mind, put council tax up for all the people in Thanet and put business rates up for all the business’s in Thanet. Yeah that will work won’t it……….or will it cripple the already struggling high streets and leave even less money as shops and business’s close and people move out of Thanet. As they say common sense is not common.

    • The problem is thanet has a disproportionate number of relatively poor people and too many with health/behaviour issues, as a result the call on resources is much greater and the income from the less affluent is negligible. So the council has a a reduced income but increased cost base for some of its statutory duties. As a result there is less left for the rest of its responsibilities.
      Hence the councils determination to raise revenues where ever it can whilst simultaneously reducing expenditure. Reserves are gone and council tax increases are limited by law.
      Its where the model of weaning areas off of central government funding fails, wealthy areas do well but poorer areas suffer.

      • Had mental Thatcher not sold off assets that the taxpayers had paid for at less than half the true value like Council houses losing the taxpayers millions of pounds in lost rental income and assets then there would far more money in the kitty. Mrs May is another one who has wasted billions of pounds when she sent article 50 to the EU without having any plans there after. Look back in history to see how much has been wasted.

      • Well said old local chap, you’ve hit the nail on the head…ie; the rich areas do well the poor areas don’t. Simples me old fruit…get rid of Boris, Brexit, B******t, other wise known as the Tory manifesto. Have you noticed the reluctance of some On this site to actually consider having to pay for our public services. Mrs.Thatcher must be laughing her blue rinse head off….we’ve turned into exactly what she wanted…..me first, sod the others, again otherwise known as the conservative manifesto. God help us, I think it’s too late, the dye is cast, from communities accepting poor education, poor medical treatment, poor public service so on and so forth, they’ve dumbed us down with their fear rhetoric and downright bloody lies.

        • But the flip side of the cuts is that its also meant to expose those areas that are poor at managing their affairs and make the local tax payers more aware of how their money is spent, as thanet has found out we’ve had very poor management. With better decisions we’d be much better off.
          Over the years I’ve most certainly paid for the services i don’t receive, Blair and his decision to accept freedom of movement from 2004 rather than take the 7 year exemption has more than his fair share of blame in respect of thanets decline.
          Look at thanet earth, it should have been the stepping stone for many of thanets unemployed into work and better lives, go there today and you’ll struggle to find many non eu migrants outside of the offices. But even if this is deemed ok where was Mr, Blairs massive housebuilding programme for all the new arrivals? The huge influx of workers has patently not generated the wealth required for the country to house everyone.
          Not that brexit will solve the issue , Boris is very liberal on migration.

          • My understanding is Thanet Earth is desperate for labour, as are hundreds, if not thousands of other businesses up and down the country! I saw 7 unskilled jobs advertised in the window of an Employment Agency in Ramsgate, so why are there so many beggars, al British by the way! I overheard a youngish man 30’s to 40, say “I am looking forward to the new year, now that Boris will get rid of all the foreigners” I bit my tounge but wanted to say, and who will replace them? We supposedly have full employment, getting rid of over 3 million EU citizens, as if, will lead to many businesses going broke! So all you people who voted to leave, what have you done?

          • Thanet earth may say they’re short of staff but they only have to put the word to their current employees and more would arrive, but the exchange rate makes it less attractive than it was. No one is asking 3 million to leave , whats needed is a slow down and give the country enough braething space to build the houses and services we need for those already living in the uk.
            There’s a work ethic problem with many , along substance abuse and mental health issues, which singly or in combination to be effectively unemployable and left on societies margins.
            Its pointless having numerous unskilled jobs paying minimum wage leaving the state to top up incomes to levels that support families, its a race to the bottom, we need decent well paid skilled work that generates real wealth.
            A “jobs miracle” that leads to declining per capita gdp is just a race to the bottom. A business that relies on its workforce having its income supplemented to survive is ,with the exception of essential services ( though tax credits to say nhs workers is really additional health spending by the back door anyway), not a businness that should survive.

  6. So they want to increase council tax as they have lost money from the government just so they can have more money in there pockets and not do anything to thanet to make it better

  7. Oh,so it’s nothing to do with the Thatcher plan but all down to a labour prime minister who in his time in office, Thanet had a new hospital, several secondary schools were either rebuilt or given massive upgrades, I could go on about 6 week waiting times for elective surgery, but you manage to dig out more right wing rhetoric in an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. I’m disappointed local chap, unfortunately your blue colours come shining through time and again. Not sure I’ll ever get you and yours mate, simples rich get richer… You and I don’t. As my title suggests… SIAB.

    • Nothing is entirely down to one thing, i was merely countering your blinkered political view, as i’ve said on many occasions , government of all colours and mixes have made a hash of things , thanet has been seen as convenient and cheap place to dump lifes unwanted.
      An example as to how things don’t improve is Conyingham school as was and its various names since, many of my peers went there and have done well in life,(none of whom would be considered to have had a life of privilege) it appears to have gone down the pan in the mid eighties on, and despite the money thrown at it has never recovered, talk to teachers that have worked there and you’ll get stories of effectively uncontrollable students who’ve no interest in learning, so is the school at fault or the early years the kids experience the problem and the homes they come from?

  8. Don’t be fooled into going down the “TDC only has so many financial issues because it is a deprived area” avenue. There are plenty of other similar councils in the country who are managing far, far better than TDC ever will. My opinion is that TDC is in the situation it is in due to continual unstable political control and a succession of top managers who simply aren’t capable of doing their job.

    There is a good reason why those around the top table at TDC are still there and haven’t gone on to bigger and better things elsewhere – no one else will have them.

  9. Just a few points on the statement from Cllr Everitt. I am pleased that the TDC Cabinet has come up with more money for operational services within a very challenging financial climate.The future outlook for local govt finance remains grim for deprived areas, unless central govt alters its policies on local govt finance.
    Ramsgate Town Council is doing its bit to cooperate and improve the environment of Ramsgate on only 2.7p in every pound of your Council tax charge.We also lose 30p in every pound on discounts that rightfully should be funded by central govt.
    Education, the fire service and police are all big ticket items in your Council tax bill and are all controlled rigidly by Whitehall. The fact that adult social care is underfunded is down to a lack of grip at Westminster and Whitehall.
    RTC has just recruited extra staff (making 6 in total)dedicated to carrying out the type of work that the public has asked for.Our staff and their vehicles are often seen in Ramsgate and furthermore RTC supports the various community groups who are doing good work within the Town. So, even though the situation is challenging,Thanet and Ramsgate are responding as best they can in the circumstances.

  10. Of course the disingenuous way Ramsgate Town Council always present their figures by referring to pence in the pound cleverly masks their huge, inflation busting tax rises in the last few years. Their share of Council Tax rose 35.1% in 17/18, 19.2% in 18/19 and a further 5.1% this year. All way above the rate of inflation and a further kick in the teeth of hard working Ramsgate residents trying to stay on top of their bills.

  11. For goodness sake, why are you all pointing fingers at local officials, although clearly most couldn’t run a bath. No, the real culprits are the Conservatives who have been responsible for cutting the necessary funds to the local authorities while giving their buddies in the big corporations massive tax breaks. Don’t tell me any different you right whingers, it’s simple maths.
    Just look at the poorest areas of the country, they have all gone down the pan in the last 10 years. Incredible also that many like Thanet have Tory MPs, there’s none so queer as folk, many of whom have swallowed the Brexit tripe. Unbelievable in so many ways!

    • ”unbelievable” that so many of the Reds are STILL in denial,about Brexit and the recent election result.That’s the best way to keep the Conservatives in power for the next decade.

      • You’ve missed the point Doc, which is plain maths, reduce public spending give tax breaks to the city thieves. Brexit has been used by the blues to hoodwink those people who believed Boris and his bunch of nodding dogs I don’t and never will. Let’s see this time next year if your still gloating in your blue heaven. Be prepared us reds won’t forget!

        • SIAB, This is in comparison to increasing state spending (paid for by those that earn enough to pay tax) to squander on free broadband, and thats after everything else offered. Labour made their play to the electorate who decided unambiguously that Jeremy and his merry band were not be trusted. ( though maybe more a case of a rock and hard place).
          Labour were unceremoniously binned and unless they want to stay on the sidelines need to have a rethink. If nothing else the country needs a credible opposition to maintain some sort of balance.

          • With you on that local chap, but all that said I’d still rather be over ambitious in repairing the damage done by the conservatives than trust any Tory PM let alone Boris the clown Johnson.
            We’ll see what happens in the next year, but I’m not holding my breath!

  12. Its true Thanet has never looked worse, shabby, run down, and in decline, all while under Conservative control, both at TDC level, and due to its 2 Tory MP’s! I am old enough to remember the 40’s, 50’s 60’s 70′ 80’s 90’s, and there were NO beggars in the streets, or fat and obese people around then! The down and out, workshy good for nothings seen begging in our streets today are there because of lack of police, and they all British! You are more likely to see a Unicorn in Thanet, than a uniformed police officer WALKING! And don’t get me started on obesity! Its being put about that fat shaming doesn’t work, well it makes me feel better! There wasn’t any obesity until about 20 years ago, when people discovered they could exist on cheap fat inducing Take Aways, by having them delivered to their front door.

    I know of a youngish family of obese unemployed people, boasting about having a van fitted out by Social Services so they can ride their motorised wheelchairs into it, at a cost to the Tax Payers of £90,000! They also boasted about their foreign holiday several times a year, paid for by Tax Payers! I had to complain in a cafe where they ate most days because they stank of sweat! They said it was because their Carer was on holiday and hadn’t been around to wash them down!

    There is a generation out there now who think society owes them a living, beggars who are not beggars, but who beg because its more lucrative than working! Over eating is not a clinical disease, its another excuse to suck on the teat of the welfare state, and costing the NHS £24 billion a year! Remember, EU citizens who came here were GIVEN jobs by British employers, because they work harder! They didn’t TAKE jobs, they were GIVEN them!

    • Ah, but the larger people in life have become so numerous that they are a voting block to be pandered to. Plain daft when as you point out the cost of being overwieght and the associated diseases costs the nhs a fortune. Should not really be too much to expect people to have some personal responsibilty, cut the cost of excess weight to the nhs by 50% and thats the funding for both the nhs and social care sorted , yet we can’t even manage to stop the population expanding let alone get it on a diet.
      Before anyone explodes in rage, i can accept that there are those with real problems who cannot control their weight, but that is a very small percentage of the problem , for the rest its a case of too many calories in and too little energy burnt.

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