Campaign aims to show residents the life-changing impact their council tax has on those most in need in Swindon
With council tax bills being delivered to households in Swindon this week, the message from the Council is that it is here for Swindon and its residents, throughout and after the pandemic.
Published: Wednesday, 10th March 2021
Alongside council tax bills, which are being delivered this week, residents will also receive a booklet outlining the Council’s budget for 2021/22, how that money will be spent and most importantly, the difference it makes to Swindon and its residents.
The Council’s net budget for 2021/22 is £153.3m. While this is funded in part by a share of business rates collected locally and government grants, the majority of the budget is funded by council taxpayers.
The Council provides hundreds of services to Swindon’s residents, which have never been relied on more than during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some of these services are highly visible, like waste collections and road maintenance, a large number of others go unseen, such as providing foster carers for children in crisis, caring for older people and supporting rough sleepers.
This year’s average council tax bill has increased by 4.99 per cent but this is not as a consequence of the pandemic. The increase in council tax is due, in part, to the continued increase in demand for, and the cost of services, particularly in adult social care, where demand for support continues to increase every year.
While only a relatively small number of residents depend on these services, they are incredibly important to those who need them, particularly during the ongoing pandemic, when many of those vulnerable people remain most at risk.
Despite the ongoing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, residents’ council tax directly helped to support some of the Borough’s most vulnerable residents last year including:
- 13,012 children given support from Early Help services, which include health visiting, youth engagement, family support and mental health support
- 120 children who couldn’t be cared for by their parents, either placed with extended family members or with a foster family living in or near Swindon
- 278 adults helped to live independently in supported living accommodation
- 1,085 adults given daily help to live independently at home
- 1,727 people supported to return home from hospital
- 803 residential or nursing care placements provided for adults who are too vulnerable to live by themselves
Councillor Russell Holland, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council and the Cabinet Member for Commercialisation, Education and Skills, said: “This year more than ever, we have seen just how important council services are to our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
“The support provided to vulnerable residents in Swindon is thanks to the council tax residents pay. We know residents will be facing additional financial pressures and worries this year, but through their council tax, they will once again be helping the Council be here for Swindon and here for those who need support the most.”
Councillor Brian Ford, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “The last year has been extremely challenging for many people, but with residents’ support, Swindon has been able to achieve some incredible things.
“Through residents’ council tax, we will continue being able to support thousands of vulnerable adults in our town over the next year, including those who can’t live by themselves, those who have learning difficulties, those who need support doing basic tasks and those who need physical support.”
Councillor Mary Martin, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “For vulnerable young children in Swindon, council services provide hope and a lifeline when they are most at risk. Without the funding council taxpayers provide, we wouldn’t be able to provide the quality care and support for these children.
“While the majority of people may never use these services, it’s crucial we continue to fund them so that if any resident needs our help at any time, we can be there.”
On Thursday (11 March) at 5pm, the Council will also be holding a live Microsoft Teams Q&A session with Swindon Link and Cllr Holland, as an opportunity for residents to have their say and ask the questions that mean the most to them.
Residents can email their questions to email@example.com ahead of the event and Swindon Link Editor, Jamie Hill, will put them to Cllr Holland. Residents can then join the event via this link on Thursday: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_YTFhYTYxMjEtNjdhNC00YjgwLThmYjMtYTIxMTJhOTBjZTFh%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22c14bbb5a-1d56-4698-b344-1b99964f6878%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22c75ef13e-f430-49a1-a7b5-c104b804de77%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a
More information on the Council’s budget, including a copy of this year’s council tax booklet, can be found on the Council website here: www.swindon.gov.uk/annualreport