The unwinding of the economic effects of COVID, together with Russia's illegal war in Ukraine, has led to inflation skyrocketing internationally. Energy, construction, fuel, and food costs are all rising as a result in this country.
But as the cost-of-living crisis was starting to bite, Fenland District Council councillors determinedly froze Fenland's portion of the Council Tax - for the fourth consecutive year.
Now an insight into the breadth of work the Council undertakes for the people of Fenland, while consistently offering residents a year-on-year, real-terms cut in their Council Tax, has been detailed in its Annual Report for 2021-2022.
The report, now available online, charts the progress the Council has made across a wide range of key service areas, outlines what has been achieved in the past year and how it has spent the income it receives.
Cllr Chris Boden, Leader of Fenland District Council and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "We are living amid the worst cost-of-living squeeze since the 1970s, with soaring bills hitting everyone's pockets. So, we are extremely proud not only that the Council has maintained excellent public services and pushed forward with ambitious plans for the future, but that we've done this while freezing our portion of the Council Tax for four years in a row."
"Despite the many national and global challenges in recent years, and resulting strains on our finances, the Council has remained innovative, resilient, and steadfast in its determination to improve the lives of Fenland residents. We have continued to ensure the needs of our residents, businesses and communities are recognised and responded to, put arrangements in place to secure on-going improvement, delivered vital public services to the highest of standards and, with reduced budgets, provided better value for money each year.
"We have supported vulnerable members of our community; led emergency responses and built resilience; prevented and tackled homelessness; helped people to live in good quality, safe housing; worked with the police to prevent and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour; encouraged our residents to live healthier, more active lifestyles; protected and enhanced our parks and green spaces; cleaned streets and dealt with the district's waste and recycling; promoted and lobbied for infrastructure improvements; improved our air quality; secured investment in the district and held numerous community events all across Fenland."
Key highlights of the Annual Report include progress on numerous regeneration programmes such as the Railway Stations Masterplans, Wisbech High Street Project, and the March Future High Streets Fund work, as well as the launch of several new online service request forms to make it even easier for people to access council services.
Other highlights include tackling more rogue landlords who breached housing and safety legislation, expanding the district's air quality monitoring network, distributing more coronavirus business grants, and playing a key role in the Government's Homes for Ukraine scheme by supporting Ukrainians seeking refuge from war.
Article date: July 2022