Recommendations will be made to Full Council for approval
Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet has today (30 January 2020) agreed the proposed 2020/21 budget which will now be put forward for recommendation to Full Council on 14 February 2020.
The proposed budget takes into account the 2020/21 provisional local government finance settlement announced by central government on 20 December 2019. This includes Revenue Support Grant funding of £0.6m and a New Homes Bonus Grant funding of £2.2m. The New Homes Bonus will be treated as one-off funding to be spent on the delivery of new houses throughout the county.
Herefordshire is a rural county and has faced significant financial challenges over recent years. The council’s annual central government funding has reduced from £60.1m in 2011/12 to £0.6m in 2019/20. Herefordshire Council has risen to this financial challenge by:
- Delivering substantial savings of £90m
- Delivering services differently
- Reviewing best use of publicly-owned buildings and land
- Increasing its financial resilience
- Consistently delivering balanced budgets
During the same nine year period the demand for and cost of delivering adult social care and meeting the needs of looked after children has increased significantly, representing more than 80% of the council’s total budget. Almost a quarter (24%) of the Herefordshire population are aged 65 or over and meeting the high pressure on social care services remains an ongoing challenge.
Despite care sector cost inflation running significantly ahead of the tracked national and consumer rates, the Cabinet has achieved a balanced budget which recommends limiting the levy ring-fenced to fund adult social care costs to £2m. This is the equivalent of a 2% increase in Council Tax. The increase in funding for all the other council services – including looked after children – is restricted to a 1.9% increase in Council Tax.
The overall Council Tax rise of 3.9% represents an increase equivalent to £1.14 a week on a band D property.
Residents on benefits continue to be eligible for Council Tax Reductions of up to 84%, and residents in particularly special circumstances (such as young adults who have left care) will continue to pay no Council Tax at all. More information and advice on reduction schemes and allowances can be found on the Herefordshire Council website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/counciltax
The draft 2020/21 budget and updated Medium Term Financial Strategy can be viewed on the Herefordshire Council website (agenda item 11).