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Budget 2021-25

Our four-year plan focuses on protecting frontline services and weathering the coronavirus crisis

Budget 2021-25

Our latest four-year budget plan was agreed by the county council on 17 February 2021

Just under 300 residents commented on the proposals between 16 December 2020 and 17 January 2021

Budget background

These are increasingly tough times. And without local government funding reform, we will have even less room for manoeuvre.

But our prudent, longterm approach is paying off. And the difficult decisions we’ve taken over the last decade – saving £220m – have put us in a better position than many other councils who are floundering.

Asking residents to pay more is not where we want to be. But if this increase was not taken, service cuts would be the inevitable consequence. This isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly but we have to keep the show on the road. Reducing frontline services isn’t an option and higher

Council Tax increases were broadly supported by respondents to our recent budget survey. Unfortunately, Government has pushed us in this direction by already assuming

Council Tax is increased when calculating their latest assessments of councils’ spending power.

Balancing the books when you’re the lowest funded county in the country is difficult. But I believe the budget we’ve set out delivers the services residents depend on.

Against a backdrop of lack of reform, coronavirus and rising demand for services, there is a danger that we’re pushed very close to the edge, but I am confident that the budget strikes the right balance of financial sustainability and service protection.

Councillor Byron Rhodes

Cabinet member for resources and finance


Our 2021-25 budget at a glance:

Balanced budget for two years

£220m savings since 2010

£450m capital pot for new roads, schools and more

£255m for children and family services and adult social care

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, public health, 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.

Last year, you ran a big consultation on future services - what were the results?

Last summer, over 4,300 people had their say in a major consultation on our priorities. Support for vulnerable people, residential and community support for older people and mental health – plus special educational needs and disabilities, child protection and children in care - were in the top 10 services people didn’t want to see reduced.

Read the results in full 

Budget in more detail

Rising costs
Growing demand for services is expected to increase costs by £60m, including:

  • Children and Family Services (£23m) - this is mainly due to pressures on the budget for social care places, which are rising by over 10 per cent a year, and growing social worker caseloads 
  • Adult Social Care (£13m) - this is largely the result of an ageing population with increasing care needs and a growing number of people with learning disabilities
  • Environment and Transport (£4m) - this primarily relates to more SEND pupils requiring transport


The £56m savings are made up of: 

  • £30m of detailed savings – reducing children and family costs by re-shaping how services are delivered, reducing adult social care costs by simplifying processes and speeding up support, bringing together early help and prevention services - and delivering some in-house and reducing disposal costs by recycling and re-using more waste
  • A ‘high needs development plan’ which will reduce SEND costs by £26m

Council Tax
A Council Tax increase of 4.99 per cent is proposed (including the 3 per cent adult social care levy) and equates to £5.59 a month for a band D house. Councils can apply a levy of three per cent for adult social care over two  years – the proposal is to include a three per cent levy in 2021/22. 

Council Tax is the only significant lever available to the County Council to raise additional money to fund vital services whilst balancing the budget.

Read more about Council Tax

Capital programme

The £450m four-year capital pot sets out plans for sustainable investment across the county including:

  • £70m to improve and maintain existing roads and bridges 
  • £120m for improving transport infrastructure
  • £72m for extra school places, including specialist provision for SEND students  
  • £25m to boost adult social care accommodation that supports people to live independently
  • £23m for recycling and household waste initiatives and specific carbon and energy reduction projects
  • £71m to invest in property to generate ongoing money for front line services



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