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Council tax freeze in sight

counciltax 300x256 Council tax freeze in sightA draft budget which proposes a freeze on council tax and savings of £18.6million was approved at a meeting of North Somerset Council’s Executive yesterday (Tuesday February 1).

The draft budget will now go to Full Council on February 22 for final approval.

If approved, the average Band D property in North Somerset will pay £1,150.87 for council services, the same as last year. This is the second lowest council tax in the south west, and tax payers in North Somerset pay £65.22 less than the national unitary authority average for a Band D property.

The Executive report sets out the proposed budget for 2011/12 as well as budget intentions up until 2015. It highlights that over the next four years the council will have to save £47.3million.

The outcome of the government settlement means that the council has had to identify a minimum of £17.5million of savings for 2011/12.

The scale of the financial challenge is unprecedented and even greater than when initial draft budget projections were published in December. Central government funding was £4.7million less than the council expected.

The proposals for 2011/12 include savings across all the council’s service areas.

Cllr Nigel Ashton, Leader of the Council, said: “We are facing unprecedented levels of cuts and must play our part, along with every other council, as the country reduces the enormous national debt.

“We have been working hard to prepare for significant savings and are better prepared than many other authorities to face the challenge. This has been achieved through good forward planning and undertaking organisational change, such as outsourcing many of our back-office services, new ways of delivering cultural services and bringing together our office accommodation in two main buildings.

“We cannot expect to achieve this scale of savings without feeling the difference, but we will continue to develop different ways of delivering services wherever possible. We will also continue to fight our corner with central government for fairer funding.

“The council’s policy is to avoid compulsory redundancy whenever possible but, given the scale of the budget reductions we are having to make, some job losses are inevitable,” continued Cllr Ashton.

“We estimate a reduction of around 140 full time equivalent posts during 2011/12. However, due to the proactive actions we have taken including outsourcing some services, the number of staff actually being put at risk of redundancy is likely to be less than 50.


“It is inevitable that the scale of the financial challenge will impact on residents, communities, partner organisations and our own staff. However, the proposed budget is prudent and protects services to our communities as far as it is possible within the limits of the resources made available to us.”

Council still failing to collect rubbish

photo 2 300x225 Council still failing to collect rubbishDespite assurances from North Somerset Council that missed recycling and rubbish collections would be done no later than the weekend of the 8th January many Weston residents are still reporting that rubbish and recycling are still piled high almost a month since collections were interrupted due to the heavy snow which disappeared after a week.

One angry resident who wished to remain un-named said “I understand that while the rest of us had to continue working and adapting to conditions caused by the snow, the health and safety obsessed council had a week when it was too dangerous to send their contractors out to collect rubbish, but the snow was only on the ground for a week so why is it that over 3 weeks later the recycling is still sat outside my house?”.

This author is one of the residents that still hasn’t had their rubbish and recycling collection and whilst the snow has brought some inevitable disruption to collections coupled with the extra rubbish created by Christmas, it has now gone well past the point of reasonable for collections to be back to normal.

Do you have piles of rubbish stacked in your street? Do you think that North Somerset has failed their obligations to the local tax-payers? Can the council justify the council tax increase due in March? Leave your comments and let us know what you think.

Business Update with Terry Gilbert – 21st November 2010

“Keep Up”!!

It’s all changing so fast – legislation, VAT, fuel costs, gas and electric, petrol. We must watch the trends and react to keep control. November/December predicted to be quite healthy, but brace yourself for January and February. Get prepared now and consider every type of promotional activity – sales, special offers etc. The pro-active business will cope with it, if the business is in a rut it will continue to spiral downwards.

The big indicators ie Bank of England, interest changes, inflation are exceeding all predictions, so the things out of your control will be improving to help. It is now down to you to grab the nettle and make the most of it. So I think I can wish you all a happy Christmas and I would love to add – a Prosperous New Year.

And finally:
We all have a moan about Christmas
And everything going so bad
But when Terry got this letter from Santa
It made him feel ever so sad.
I’m sending this note to advise you
That taxes have taken away
The things I found most essential
My reindeer, my workshop, my sleigh.
Now I’m making my rounds on a donkey
He’s old, crippled and slow
So if you don’t see me at Christmas
I’m out on my ass in the snow!

Business Update with Terry Gilbert

Last chance to claim. Tax Credits, which ever section might affect you, is raising the drawbridge on 31 July so get your claims in. Self-employed low earners may well be eligible for Working Tax Credits.

Well, it seems like yesterday that a hose pipe ban was imminent and we now have green grass and lots of water – could business be affected as quickly? It is fair to say that we are involved in major changes to our finances and revisiting our original budgets id s vital part of planning our way out of recession.

How’s this for a cheery statistic! In 1999 in the USA a total number of 28,874 people were killed by guns. In Britain the figure was 207. So sales may be down, rain maybe forecast but you are not likely to be shot for a day or two!!

You could of course order the new Bugatti Veyron super sport, crowned the world’s fastest production car with a top speed of 268 mph – how silly!!!

I hope all you retailers, cafes and hoteliers etc are displaying your “Heroes Welcome” stickers. If you do not have stickers then contact Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor. I would love us to be the ‘heroes’ friendliest town’ and be noted for it.

Quote of the day:

“I try to treat my team equally by treating them all differently”
​William Montgomery – on BBC

Business Update with Terry Gilbert – June 2010

Well, first budget done and dusted and not as hard as some expected. The big guns like the FSB think that it is to be expected, knowing we have to balance the books and get out of debt. If it makes you feel any better, VAT in Denmark and Sweden is 25% and our 20% which comes into force on 4 January 2011, puts us in line with most European countries, but talks have started to re-consider.

Population is predicted to hit 65 million by 2020, that should keep someone busy (in retail I mean)!

Weston’s Water Park is almost ready, the Pier will be open soon, most of the sea defences are complete – bring on the grockells – let’s make hay etc!!

The need for a town train increases to help with parking and mobility around the town centre. This could be your project – talk to me for details.

Just a scan of the new “What’s On” in North Somerset shows there are a lot of people striving to put on interesting and varied events across the county. As for the clever programmes coming from Tyntesfield House – I applaud their ingenuity, we could all take a leaf from their book.

And finally ….

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

​Oscar Wilde

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing

I am sure you have all completed your online self-assessment and you wondered why you had not done it sooner (well I did).

Business rates are next – some clients are experiencing a 300% increase which needs challenging. Talk to your local Chamber of Commerce and ask for the forms to appeal. We need to get them sorted by April when you will be asked to start paying.

Diary dates:

Wednesday 24 February​-​7.00 pm Oak & Glass – Pudding Club

Thursday 25 February​-​8.00 am Rookery Manor – Business Breakfast

Friday 5 March​-​7.30 pm The Cove – RNLI Charity Dinner

Saturday 13 March​-​7.00 pm Winter Gardens – The Mayor’s Ball

Terry Gilbert will be at all of them and will see you there!!!

And finally:

If a quiz is quizzical – what is a test??!!

Terry Gilbert is Business Support Manager for the North Somerset Enterprise Agency www.northsomersetenterpriseagency.co.uk as well as being the director for the Weston Town Centre Partnership and Chair for Weston 200 and Weston Arts Social Enterprise.

Local Business in February

Tax codes are a changing – HM Revenue has recently introduced a new National Insurance and PAYE system and is using it to issue notices of tax coding for the first time. This should lead to a more accurate result. If you are concerned your code is wrong, ring 0845 3000 627. It needs to be correct for 6 April 2010.

New rates are still filtering through. Some surprises have been experienced which may need help to rectify. However, some businesses may experience a reduction ie workshops and factories.

There is a lot of reasonably priced and subsidised training to be had across North Somerset – call 01934 418118 for details and dates.

BUY LOCAL – We are being urged to support our local shops. Buying on line is a novelty, but when all the shops are shut down it will be too late to support them, so think about them now, give them your support – use your STAR card for discounts.

Banks are opening up a bit – good business plans and budgets will get a fair hearing on loans and overdrafts, which is progress and good news.

“A problem shared etc” is just as important now as it ever was and proprietors should consider talking to the Enterprise Agency, their bank manager or their accountant.

For the business people who like to gamble – take a look at Penny Sleuth – Google will find it. Some of the shares floated there make 300% profit in two months – of course, some also make big losses.

Lots of good causes coming up:

RNLI Charity Auction and Dinner. To be held on Friday 5 March at The Cove Restaurant, Weston-super-Mare. Tickets £30 per head to include 3-course dinner

Charity Football match for the Children’s Hospice South West. To be held on Sunday 21 March at Clevedon’s Hand Stadium

New business directory being released through North Somerset Council next month. Also business support link on the Council website coming up soon

And finally:

Senior Citizens are officially the nations leading carriers of AIDS:

Hearing aids
Band aids
Walking aids
Medical aids
And finally – monetary aids to their kids!!

Terry Gilbert is Business Support Manager for the North Somerset Enterprise Agency www.northsomersetenterpriseagency.co.uk as well as being the director for the Weston Town Centre Partnership and Chair for Weston 200 and Weston Arts Social Enterprise.