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Huntingdonshire District Council's (HDC) 2023/2024 budget was presented at a meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday 22 February and approved for the forthcoming financial year.

The new financial plan sets out how the council will balance its budget and continue to protect vital frontline services despite ongoing pressures caused by inflation and rises in utility and fuel costs.

To enable the council to carry on providing vital statutory services, Huntingdonshire Band D Council Tax is set to go up by £5 a year to £155.86 from the new financial year starting on 1 April 2023. The rise, which amounts to less than 10p a week, or 3.31%, means that the average household will only pay a total of £3 a week for all the services provided by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Cllr Brett Mickelburgh, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: "Like the vast majority of councils across the country, Huntingdonshire District Council has come under financial pressures due to rising costs and inflation.

"While the council is able to present a balanced budget at this stage, we keep just 7p of every £1 of council tax collected so it is important we build a budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy that is more sustainable for future years to protect our vital frontline services.

"Having more sustainable finances means that we can become more efficient and innovative, and while we have had to take some difficult decisions now, in future years we will have a strong foundation to be more efficient and innovative in the way that we provide services to our residents."

Over the coming months, the council will look to set new priorities as part of a new Corporate Plan, which builds on this budget and will also link to the council's other strategies including the Climate Strategy and Huntingdonshire Futures Place Strategy.

Cllr Sarah Conboy, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, added: "Since becoming Executive Leader of the Joint Administration for Huntingdonshire District Council in May last year, I am reminded on a daily basis that Huntingdonshire is already one of the best places to live in the country.

"Our work this year will be to make sure this continues for current and future generations. Fundamental to this is our agreed balanced budget for 23/24 which protects our vital frontline services from any cuts and, unlike some councils, does not call on the use of our reserves.

"During 2023 we will be setting new priorities for the council, and we are ambitious with what we want to achieve as look to implement a new Place Strategy, Huntingdonshire Futures, which sets out a vision for the future of the district to 2050 along with a new Climate Strategy and preparation works for a new Local Plan.

"At the same time, it is important that we maintain the high levels of day-to-day services that our residents expect from us and that we continue with our prevention and early intervention work to support those people who need help during difficult times.

"There is lots to come this year in Huntingdonshire and I look forward to continuing to work with all our residents across the district."