Thank you for participating in our survey. Your feedback is important.

Isle of Wight residents and organisations, council tax and business rate payers are invited to have their say on the council’s budget and council tax for 2022/23.

The council expects to spend around £400 million in the next financial year and we are preparing our draft budget.  We won’t get all the information from Government that we need to complete the budget until the New Year.  Whilst we carry on working on it we would very much like to hear your views on important choices we need to make.

Insufficient Government funding levels and increases in demand for care services have forced the council to make continuous savings and cuts in previous years.  Up to April 2021 we have had to make cumulative savings of over £86 million in annual spending

Following those years of insufficient Government funding and with inflation currently at 4.2 per cent and rising, we are trying to keep services running and to provide value for money.  We are proposing to increase council tax by the maximum 2 per cent permitted by Government to help cover some of the gap.

Despite substantial increases in adult social care costs the Government has also cut the maximum additional council tax for these services from 3 per cent to 1 per cent.  This lower figure will only cover a fraction of the cost to meet the continued growth in demand for services as well as the 6.6 per cent increase in the National Living Wage for our essential care workers that support the most vulnerable in our community.

The Alliance administration cannot rely on Government for any substantial financial assistance that will materially alter our current financing; and has as a result adopted a new positive strategy focussed on locally driven income generation.  A range of initiatives are being developed that build on natural assets of our beautiful Island, capitalise on our council land and other resources and fully utilise our professional staff and external partners.  These will take time to evaluate, plan and put into practice but work is underway as they represent a real prospect of driving recovery and benefitting all Islanders.

While these new plans come to fruition, our short-term financial planning indicates that we will regrettably need to make more cuts over the next year to keep pace with other increasing cost pressures.  Whilst some of these financial pressures can be dealt with through a range of efficiency measures, some service reductions will be required.  Wherever possible this work has prioritised protecting frontline services, but current estimates are that even with an increase in council tax, we will need to make a further £3 million of savings measures in 2022/23.  The hope is that for the following years the Alliance initiatives on income generation will be able to turn the tide away from managing financial decline and to start to slowly restore that which has been lost.

We will continue to pressure Government with a substantial case for additional funding for areas of our work where demand and costs of delivering those services continue to rise significantly and to reflect the unique financial pressures associated with delivering services on the Island.

We would like to hear your views to help us make decisions on public spending for our 2022-2023 budget and to help shape our budget strategy for the coming years.  This short consultation should take less than five minutes of your time to complete.

This survey will close on 21 January 2022.