Taking tough decisions and saving £200m since 2010 means we’re in a strong position, especially compared to other councils, but this can’t go on forever.
Our four-year plan shows that pressure is building on both our revenue and capital budgets, and our social care and SEND services in particular. And with the comprehensive spending review and local government funding reform proposals not due until late 2019, there is much uncertainty.
As the lowest funded county, we’re using our finite resource to invest in supporting vulnerable people, set out a significant capital programme without borrowing a penny and have been named the most productive council in the country for the second year.
Our prudent approach means, with savings, we can balance our books for the next two years but then shortfalls arise. And the question mark over future government funding could exacerbate this gap.
You can read more below.
Deputy Council Leader
What services does the county council provide?
We're responsible for delivering a wide range of sevices including adult social care, children's social care, transport, education, planning, road maintenance, libraries, waste management and trading standards. These are funded by Council Tax, business rates, Government grants and income from fees and charges.
What is happening with Government funding?
Government funding for councils has been cut since 2010. By 2020, we expect to lose all of our Revenue Support Grant and other Government grants are reducing or stopping - in real terms, we've lost £100m since 2010.
Leicestershire remains the lowest funded county in the country. We've been leading calls for fair funding and have secured a review. It's unlikely we'll know about local government funding reform - or the Government 's next comprehensive spending review - until late 2019, so there is much uncertainty.
Why does the council have a £20m budget gap?
Taking tough decisions and saving £200m since 2010 means we’re in a relatively strong position – especially compared to other councils - but this can’t go on forever. With savings, our proposals balance the books for two years but then shortfalls arise.
Government cuts to grants, combined with rapidly increasing demand for key services have resulted in expenditure exceeding income. We have identified savings to cover the majority of the shortfall, but we need to develop further proposals to cover the balance.
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What is the budget plan?
We need to spend an extra £94m on services because:
- Rising demand for social care and special educational needs and disability support is set to drive up costs by £50m
- Inflation costs are set to add another £44m - making the overall budget increase £94m
The changes in Leicestershire's population from 1951 to 2041
Savings of £74m are required - made up of:
£34m of detailed savings including:
- Recruiting more in-house foster carers to reduce expensive placements
- Reducing adult social care costs by managing demand and reviewing contracts and personal budget allocations
- Refocussing ‘early help’ and prevention services
- Changes to special educational needs and post-16 transport
- Generating more from property investment and by commercial activity
- Reducing back office costs by maximising digital technology and simplifying processes
- Implementing initiatives that improve the council’s efficiency and productivity
£20m of SEND savings by:
- Investing a one-off £30m in creating more places locally, ensuring children have access to high quality specialist education close to home
This leaves a £20m savings gap
The £34m detailed savings are set out in the table below:
A £380m programme featuring a range of one-off investments such as building a relief road for Melton and other highway schemes, creating new school places, developing supported living for adults with disabilities and rolling out superfast broadband.
Read more about:
Are you planning to generate more income?
Yes – property investments are generating £4m a year. With further planned investment this is set to rise to £8m a year by 2022. The extra cash is currently being ploughed into fixing and preventing potholes, and other front line services, reducing the impact of national funding reductions. Providing services to schools, councils, NHS and others is generating £3m a year and is expected to increase to £4m by 2020.
How will the 3.99% council tax rise be spent?
A 3.99% rise for 2019/20 increases the county’s share of a band D bill by around £50 a year – this equates to just over £4 a month or £1 a week. It generates £12m to be invested as below:
- £5m to support the rise in people requiring adult social care and their increasing needs
- £6m to support the growing number of children in care, and increased assessments and transport requirements relating to SEND support
- £1m to improve transitions between children’s and adult’s social care, and projects to ensure Leicestershire gets the most out of HS2 and deal with ash die back
Find out more
- Watch the video below featuring Deputy Council Leader Byron Rhodes
- Read the full budget plan