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Plan outlines ambitions for Herefordshire’s community, environment and economy

Full Council has today (14 February 2020) approved the ‘County Plan 2020-2024’ and associated 2020/21 budget, Capital Programme, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Treasury Management Plan. An increase to Herefordshire Council Tax rates was also approved at 3.9% in order to achieve a balanced budget.

The new ‘County Plan’ commits the council to improving the sustainability, connectivity and wellbeing of Herefordshire residents by “…strengthening our communities, creating a thriving local economy and protecting and enhancing our environment”. The Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2020-2024 outlines current spending and savings plans and how the council will achieve these ambitions.

The county plan identifies exciting initiatives to address issues and concerns, some of which were raised during the recent county-wide consultation, including:

  • Building council-owned housing and more affordable homes across the county.
  • Caring for the environment.
  • Stimulating the economy through improved education, digital connectivity and tourism.
  • Improving the condition of the county’s roads.
  • Promoting Herefordshire’s heritage, natural beauty, arts and culture.

Councillor Liz Harvey, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: “Local people are at the heart of our County Plan. Our planned initiatives demonstrate our commitment to improve the whole of Herefordshire, while urgently addressing the climate emergency.

“To balance our budget we have reluctantly decided to increase Council Tax by 3.9%. This is to meet the rising demand and cost of adult social care, whilst also maintaining a range of valued services which provide many benefits for our residents.”

Since 2011, Herefordshire Council has seen a 99% reduction in central government funding, with the Revenue Support Grant decreasing from over £60 million to £600k in 2019-20. Meanwhile, the costs of adult social care and looked after children account for more than 80% of the council’s budget.

The Council Tax Reduction scheme will continue at a discount of up to 84% for people facing financial hardship and a discount of 100% for young people leaving care. The council continues to offer a hardship fund to assist people in exceptional circumstances.

Herefordshire Council has an annual budget of £380m which is used to deliver services to over 187,000 residents. These services include maintenance of over 2,000 miles of roads, collection of over 85,000 residential bins, safeguarding around 1,000 children (including 354 in the council’s care) and providing care and support to 2,500 vulnerable adults.

There is more information about Council Tax on the Herefordshire Council website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/counciltax

Further details are available to view as part of the Full Council agenda on the Herefordshire Council website.

Published: Friday, 14th February 2020