‘Toughest ever’ budget to be finalised

Our four-year budget will be finalised at our full county council meeting

County council's budget proposals

Major plans setting out multi-million-pound investment in services, wide-ranging savings and a Council Tax rise will be in the spotlight this week as councillors meet to finalise Leicestershire County Council’s budget.
 
The four-year proposals will be the focus at tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) full council meeting and include investing £129m more to meet growing demand, mainly in social care, and an extra £113m to cover inflation and the National Living Wage increase. 
 
They propose balancing the books next year using £6m of reserves – the first time this has been required - and forecast a budget gap of £83m by 2028 after planned savings. 
 
A three per cent Council Tax increase for core services - and a two per cent increase in the adult social care precept – generating in total £18m more for front line services - is planned from April and equates to a £1.46 a week for a Band D home.

Councils across the country face eye-watering challenges. Thanks to taking tough decisions, and saving £262m since 2010, we’re not at crisis point. We’re proud about being open and highly efficient and we’ll continue to work with Government ministers on the reform needed to help us do more for our residents. 
  
This is our toughest ever budget but we’re doing the best we can with the money we have, and I’m pleased that most people who responded to our consultation support the approach. And it’s good news that extra Government funding means we can scale back waste site closures and invest in tackling flooding. 
 
Major service redesigns are already underway but our focus is on challenging how we deliver each and every area so we can pinpoint options for bridging the longer term £83m budget gap.

 The four-year budget proposals include:  

  • A £6m budget shortfall next year – rising to £33m in 2026, £60m in 2027 and £83m in 2028 
  • £127m more mainly to support vulnerable people – to pay for more home and residential care, and support people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health needs 
  • An extra £113m - to cover inflation and the National Living Wage increase 
  • Major redesigns of services to manage future demand, including: 

o   Special educational needs and disabilities - a new approach balancing growing demand for support with getting children the right help  
o   Working with Barnardo’s to run children’s homes locally  
o   Boosting ‘supported living’ - over 100 new placements created since 2020, enabling people with learning and physical disabilities and mental health needs to learn life skills and live independently  
o   Rolling out ‘care technology’ - over 2,600 pieces of equipment, including falls detectors and GPS location trackers, installed over last year, benefiting over 1,000 people  

  • £39m of savings – including redesigning services, reducing the cost of back-office support services by maximising digital technology and smarter procurement 
  • An extra £400k to help the council do more to tackle flooding - after 500 homes flooded across the county in the wake of Storm Henk in the New Year 
  • £2.7m to maintain roads and fix potholes - including £2.2m of Government ‘Network North’ money     
  • A £445m four-year capital pot – including £18m to improve bridges, roll out flood alleviation projects and improve road surfaces   

 The proposed budget will be discussed at a full county council meeting tomorrow (21 February) - watch online

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