Cabinet to consider budget proposals

Herefordshire Councilís budget proposals will be considered by Cabinet when it meets on 21 January 2016.

As part of the councilís draft financial strategy, it is proposed to increase council tax by 3.9% in 2016/17. The increase will provide 1.9% (£1.6m) to protect council services, including safeguarding our vulnerable children and 2% (£1.7m) to alleviate the significantly rising costs of adult social care for the countyís higher than average ageing population. The proposed increase would mean a rise of around £4 a month for those living in a band D property.

The council has experienced substantial funding reductions from central government since 2010, but has risen to the challenge by saving £59m, whilst still delivering successful projects to boost the local economy including The Old Market retail development, the new livestock market, faster broadband and the Enterprise Zone.

The council is aware that funding reductions from central government will continue; all but being eliminated from its current level of £26m to less than £1m in 2020. This means an additional £28m will need to be saved by 2020; a total of £87m over ten years.

In 2016/17, the councilís funding from government will reduce by a third (£9m), so taking into account rising adult social care costs, savings of nearly £11m will need to be achieved.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, Herefordshire Council deputy leader, said: ďAs with other councils across England, the responsibility for funding local council services has now been firmly moved from central government to local residents and businesses.

ďIn line with other councils, we are considering council tax increases in the region of 3.9% to support rising adult social care costs. This move is supported by the government, which has acknowledged that current adult social care funding is insufficient to meet demand.

ďThe December local government settlement for Herefordshire was significantly lower than anticipated. In the last three years alone, the funding of council services through central government has reduced by nearly 60% and by 2020 it is predicted that council services will be funded almost entirely by local council tax and business rates. This will require us to make additional savings and could mean further changes to services and increases in council tax.
ďWe need to ensure that we protect our most vulnerable residents and with ever diminishing resources and significantly increasing adult social care costs, itís never been more important for us consider different ways to deliver services to achieve better value for money, continue to grow our local economy, secure new jobs and homes and ensure prosperity throughout the county.Ē
Posted : 13/01/2016 18:54:02