Leicestershire County Council has today (Thursday) published its latest budget proposals which prioritise protecting vulnerable people - and include major investment in support that residents depend on.
An extra £57m for vital support, such as home and residential care, is at the heart of the plan which would also see major capital investment of £508m, service cuts totalling £4m, £59m of efficiency savings and a 4.99 per cent Council Tax increase to ensure the books will balance next year.
The proposals have been updated to reflect newly-announced Government grants and funding and also feature an extra £1m to offset the impact of service cuts and support priorities, such as keeping Leicestershire’s roads in good condition.
Covid, the war in Ukraine and rising energy costs make setting a balanced budget extremely challenging. But we pride ourselves on doing the best we can with the money we have.
We’ve listened to feedback and our proposals protect the vulnerable. That’s why we’ve set aside an extra £57m to fund the wide-ranging help and support people rely on round-the-clock.
I’m pleased that greater clarity on Government funding has given us some flex to mitigate the impact of service cuts - and to boost services we know are important to our residents, such as fixing roads.
Person:Council leader, Nick Rushton
Although councils fared better than expected in the Government’s Autumn Statement, the financial outlook remains extremely tough with the authority’s budget gap set to rise to over £90m by 2026.
Growing service demand is set to increase costs by £70m, with rising inflation forecast to add another £80m by 2026/27. The National Living Wage increase drives up social care costs significantly and adds another £18m.
A 4.99 per cent Council Tax increase from April equates to £1.39 a week for a Band D home and generates £17.7m for front line services.
Councillor Lee Breckon, cabinet member for resources, said: “Our plan protects public services, as much as possible, during tough economic times, but this also means that difficult decisions lie ahead.
“And asking our residents to pay more is far from ideal, especially during a cost of living crisis. With inflation driving up our costs, a Council Tax rise significantly reduces the impact on front line services and was supported by most people who commented through our consultation.
“The bigger picture remains essential. And we’re pushing forward with our fair funding campaign and looking forward to meeting the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, in the spring to press our case.”
The council’s cabinet will finalise proposals next Friday (10 February) before the budget is agreed at a meeting of the county council on 22 February.
At a glance
The budget proposals include:
- £57m more to support vulnerable people - to pay for more home and residential care, and support people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health needs. The number of home care users has increased by 600 since January 2020
- £59m of efficiency savings – reducing back office costs by maximising digital technology, simplifying processes and providing the right level of support to residents
- Service cuts totalling £4m - including reviewing waste sites, streetlighting, Green Plaques and Shire Grants
- A £508m four-year capital pot - for the cost of building roads, schools and other one-off projects
- A 4.99 per cent Council Tax rise for 2023/24– this equates to £1.39 a week for a band D home and generates £17.7m for front line services
- £1m to reduce the impact of service cuts and support priorities, such as road maintenance – proposals will be drawn up over the next 12 months on options for this money
The council’s yearly budget totals £504m.
District councils, police, fire and parish and town councils all make up portions of residents’ Council Tax bills.
A 4.99 per cent Council Tax rise in the county council’s share includes a two per cent adult social care levy – and means a Band D home would pay £1,525.