Leicestershire County Council’s deputy leader, Byron Rhodes, made a statement to full council this afternoon, about the budget situation.Councillor Rhodes highlighted:
- A 56 per cent real terms decrease in the local government spending limit
- Leicestershire’s position as the lowest funded county council, receiving £83 million less than East Sussex and £56 million less than Oxfordshire
- Potentially positive Government proposals re social care and integration with the NHS, albeit that the “devil will be in the detail”
Here is a key excerpt from the text of the statement, which was tabled at the meeting:
Overall, our position is extremely challenging. As we stand at the moment, we need to make all £82 million of the savings in the current MTFS (medium term financial strategy) and because of demand and cost pressures, including the living wage, by 2019/20 we believe the savings requirement will rise to £130 million or thereabouts.
Following the autumn statement, hopefully our funding situation will improve a little. But even if this happens, we face an extremely bleak future. Some counties have already got into financial difficulty, including Northamptonshire, Somerset and Buckinghamshire, who have already stopped non-essential expenditure. It is only through sound financial management and a real focus on planning that the county council will be able to meet this challenge.
The up and coming MTFS will include some very tough decisions, particularly on service reductions and other savings required to balance the budget. The Government has, in effect, devolved the funding of severe pressures on social care, much of which relates to the national living wage. The ability to add two per cent each year to Council Tax in the form of a social care precept will need careful consideration and, if agreed, will lead to more significant costs falling on Council Taxpayers than the council had originally planned.Person:Councillor Byron Rhodes, Deputy Leader, Leicestershire County Council
Councillor Rhodes made his statement to full council on Wednesday, December 2nd. You can watch a recording of the meeting on our webcasts page.