Guide to the 2017/18 council budget
Herefordshire Council's budget for 2017/18 maintains financial stability, delivers efficiencies and supports investment in priority services, while demonstrating value for money and maintaining service quality with reducing resources. The council has a medium term financial strategy where £28 million of saving will be delivered between now and 2019/20 when all council spend will be funded locally.
Herefordshire Council Tax rose by 3.9 percent in 2017/18, this included a 2 percent precept to fund growing adult social care needs. Herefordshire has added pressure, with a higher than average proportion of people in the county over the age of retirement. 23 percent of Herefordshire’s residents are over 65, compared to 19 percent nationally. By 2031, this is expected to increase to 31 percent, compared to 23 percent nationally.
Continued reduced funding
Funding from central Government reduced by a third for 2016/17 (a loss of £9 million from the council's budget), however, we continue to rise to the austerity challenge by making significant savings of £59 million since 2010 while delivering successful projects to boost the local economy including The Old Market retail development, the new livestock market, faster broadband and the Hereford Enterprise Zone.
Additional adult care precept
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government made an offer to authorities with adult social care responsibilities, of the option to charge a 'precept' of up to 2 percent on Council Tax in 2016 without holding a referendum, to help meet rising expenditure on adult social care. Subject to the annual approval of the House of Commons, the Secretary of State intends to offer the option of charging this precept each financial year, up to and including the financial year 2019/20.
For 2016, the Secretary of State determined (and House of Commons approved) a referendum principle of 4 percent (comprising 2 percent for expenditure on adult social care and 2 percent for other expenditure), for adult social care authorities. These authorities may therefore increase Council Tax up to this percentage in 2016 without holding a referendum.
The council budget ensures that corporate and service plans are developed in the context of available resources and that those resources are allocated in line with corporate priorities set out in the Corporate Plan. Herefordshire's key priority areas are to:
- Keep children and young people safe and give them a great start in life
- Enable residents to live safe, healthy and independent lives and
- Invest in projects to improve roads, create jobs and build more homes