County council officers have produced a budget for 2022/23 and for the third year ‘do not need to seek any further savings beyond those already planned’.
Proposed savings of almost £900,000 from children’s early help services have also been removed in response to increasing demand and in anticipation of national reviews.
However in order to balance the books, a general 1.99 per cent council tax rise alongside the adult social care levy of 2.5 per cent is being proposed.
This will equate to an extra £1.33 a week for an average househould, or £69.16 over the full year.
According to the council, a further £5 million is earmarked for extra spending on priority services in the year ahead, while the budget also allocates extra £6m of investment to combat climate change between 2023 and 20225 and an additional £31m to maintain road infrastructure over a period of ten years.
This is on top of extra one-off spending of £5.8 million for roads and pavements and £3.1 million for climate change, which were both agreed in November and will largely be spent during 2022/23.
The budget will be discussed by cabinet next Tuesday (January 25) and then go to Full Council for sign-off on Tuesday February 8.
An officers’ report, due to go to cabinet, said: “The importance of the services provided by this council has once again been evident over the past year of ongoing challenge and change, particularly the crucial support we provide for those in our county who are most vulnerable.
“Additional funding announced, together with our prudent planning, means that, for now, our financial position remains secure, and for a third year we do not need to seek any further savings beyond those already planned.
“We will continue to use this window of stability to support recovery from Covid, prepare and protect services for the changes ahead and invest in key priorities for local people such as maintaining our roads and working to reduce our carbon emissions.
“However, the position beyond 2022/23 is much less clear. The updated financial outlook presented in this report therefore signals that we are likely to face a much more challenging position from 2023/24 onwards.”