Investment plans put to the public
Plans to invest millions of pounds into services across Dudley borough are being put to the public including “significant support” for older people.
Dudley Council has formally put forward a range of investments in services from April next year as part of its annual budget setting.
It includes investments in the care system and nursing as well as maintaining investment in the voluntary sector which has been critical during the pandemic.
There is also money to meet the growth in demand for care for people with complex dementia and learning disabilities and rising costs of care.
There are also plans to invest in the council’s antisocial behaviour team as well as creating more community support officers to pound the streets of the borough.
Leisure is also in-line for a boost with proposals for a refurbishment programme at Halesowen and Stourbridge’s Crystal leisure centres next year, to add to the new Dudley Leisure Centre which is already taking shape.
To help fund the extra money the council is planning to raise the basic rate of council tax by 1.99 per cent along with a 3 per cent rise which will go specifically to vital services for the elderly which have been so important to people during the coronavirus pandemic. It makes a total 4.99 per cent increase.
But borough residents will continue to pay some of the lowest rates in the country – a rise of just over £1 a week for the average property (Band B).
The annual budget consultation has now been launched to give people the opportunity to comment on the proposals before a final decision is taken in spring next year.
Councillor Steve Clark, cabinet member for finance, said:
It’s been an incredibly difficult year for all of us and a year where many people and businesses have relied on support from the council more than ever before.
The huge challenges of 2020 have brought the importance of so many local services into sharp focus and planning how they are run and funded in the future has never been so important.
This is a budget that is positive and brave in making sure these vital services have funding to continue doing their work – particularly significant support for older people and those who are vulnerable.
As part of this year’s consultation we want the views of local people on where we should be prioritising money, particularly after such a challenging year for so many people.
The consultation is available online at www.dudley.gov.uk
The consultation will only be available online this year to help stop the spread of coronavirus by people handling hard copies of the questions.
You can also fill in the consultation with the link on social media and people can also be emailed a copy by signing up to the council’s free e-bulletins at www.dudley.gov.uk