Council sets balanced budget and looks forward to a big year ahead

The Council has set a balanced budget for the year ahead and highlighted why Exeter has much to look forward to over the next 12 months.

Council Leader Phil Bialyk delivered his budget speech at a special Council meeting at Exeter College and said it had been a year of recovery as the city starts to move on from the pandemic.

He said: “We are seeing the rewards of the work we did with our partners across the city last year, in supporting and coordinating the response to the crisis. This has given us the best possible chance of a sustainable recovery.

“Footfall has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels. Exeter continues to have one of the lowest shop vacancy rates in the country. Businesses in the city are expressing high levels of confidence in the future – and for good reason.”

The Budget means the City Council’s share of council tax has been set at £170.05 for a Band D property. It is an increase of £5 a year, less than 10p a week.

By comparison, the County Council precept will rise by £45.18 or 87 pence a week, the Police by £10 a year or 19p a week and the Fire by £1.79 or 3p a week. 

A Band D council tax bill in Exeter is split as follows:

  • Devon County Council – £1,556.46
  • Devon & Cornwall Police – £246.56
  • Exeter City Council – £170.05
  • Devon & Somerset Fire – £ 91.79

It makes a total bill of £2,064.86 for an average Band D property.

Cllr Bialyk said the city will focus on its key priorities in the year ahead – delivering a Net Zero Carbon City, building great neighbourhoods, creating a healthy and inclusive city, a place where people want to live, to work and to visit, a city of community and quality of life.

He highlighted a wide range of projects underway in Exeter, including the Passivhaus council house building programme and the project to retrofit existing homes to become super energy efficient.

The work is helping to lift residents out of fuel poverty at a time of soaring energy costs and is also helping to cut the city’s carbon footprint, he said.

Cllr Bialyk said the Council would continue to protect the green spaces that surround the city while bringing forward  plans for sustainable new communities on former brownfield sites.

He said the opening of St Sidwell’s Point in the spring would be a major boost for everyone in the city.

Cllr Bialyk said: “St Sidwell’s Point and the new Exeter Bus Station are assets for the city and provide a real focus on our city centre.

“They are a massive boost for all of our residents, visitors and people who work here. The new leisure centre will play a vital role in our recovery, by supporting the city centre and acting as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the wider area.

“And I am so proud to see it about to open its doors.”

Cllr Bialyk praised the work of the Council’s staff over the last year in continuing to provide excellent frontline services.

He added: “There is lot of talk coming from central government of levelling up, devolution, and the twelve national missions to increase productivity and employment, and reduce inequality.

“In Exeter we have been working on all of these areas for the last 10 years and continue to do so.

“We are levelling up for the citizens of Exeter, delivering for everyone in the city through all of the things I have mentioned, in collaboration with our partners, to ensure Exeter remains a city that we can all be so proud of.”

Read the full speech by clicking on the image below.

View budget speech

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