Supporting vulnerable people, tackling climate change and delivering infrastructure are at the heart of the county council’s budget.
The plan was given the thumbs up at a meeting this afternoon (Wednesday) and is made up of a £390m revenue budget for next year – to run services – and a four-year capital pot of £600m - one-off spend to build and invest in new roads, schools, social care and more.
With growing demand for services and inflation set to ramp up costs by £120m, it sets out £80m of savings, half of which have already been identified. It also includes investing an extra £34m to support vulnerable people and £7m more in road maintenance next year.
Following a consultation, the existing opening hours at recycling and household waste sites will be maintained.
The £600m capital pot features a range of one-off investments supporting new homes – new roads, school places and social care accommodation and further rolling out broadband, as well as maintaining roads and drains – and a £16m investment in tackling climate change.
This is a budget balancing growing service demands and investment in priorities, with residents’ needs at its heart.Person:Deputy council leader, Byron Rhodes
We can balance the books for two years, thanks to our strong foundations, but a gap is looming. Rising demand for services is generating ever-growing pressure. Since 2010, we’ve saved £210m and eventually, we won’t be able to do it anymore. With special education needs and disability support at record levels here and nationwide, it’s an issue the Government simply have to recognise.
Last summer, we asked residents about their priorities. And investment in tackling climate change, boosting road maintenance spend and supporting vulnerable people reflect their feedback. At £600m, our capital pot is the largest ever. But with new homes planned, it’s vital we support our communities by ensuring new roads and schools are in place with the biggest investment in the county’s infrastructure for a generation.
A 3.99 per cent Council Tax increase equates to just over £1 a week and reduces the impact on services by generating £12m next year to support vulnerable people.
- The number of children with SEND education, health and care plans has increased by over 50 per cent since 2015 and is now at 4,730
- Investment in adult social care accommodation would allow 60 people a year to move into housing that helps them to live more independently
- Leicestershire’s population is set to rise by 107,000 between 2016 and 2041
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The £120m rising costs are made up of £60m of service pressure and £60m inflation costs such as increases in supplier charges and the National Living Wage.
The £80m breaks down as £24m of detailed savings and a plan to reduce SEND costs by £17m, leaving a £39m gap.
The £24m detailed savings include:
• Recruiting more in-house foster carers to reduce expensive placements
• Reducing adult social care costs by simplifying processes and speeding up support
• Bringing together early help and prevention services - and delivering some in-house
• Reducing disposal costs by recycling and re-using more waste
• Generating more income from property investment
The 3.99 per cent rise includes a two per cent national levy to be invested in adult social care – councils have had the option to include up to eight per cent over four years.
It’s estimated the savings would lead to a reduction of around 150 full-time equivalent posts over four years although it’s expected the number of compulsory redundancies will be lower, given the scope to manage the position through staff turnover and vacancy control.