County backs more money for vulnerable people
Gloucestershire County Council should increase council tax to raise more money for vulnerable people. That's the majority view of those who took part in the recent budget consultation.
In December, the council published its draft budget proposals for 2016/17 and asked the public for views on what's being proposed.
The council offered three options when it came to council tax:
1. A 1.99% increase
2. A 1.99% increase plus an addition two per cent National Adult Social Care Levy (3.99% rise in total).
3. No increase.
Around 1,000 responses were received from individuals and organisations, including trade unions.
More than 61 per cent of those who took part voted for a council tax increase, options one or two, with the largest number - 43 per cent of people overall - voting for option two, a 3.99% increase.
The National Adult Social Care Levy would raise £4.7million and is ring-fenced to spend only on services for the most vulnerable people in the county.
For an average Band D household the proposed increase would be £43.51 per year or £3.63 per month.
At its meeting next week, Cabinet will consider a proposed budget for 2016/17 based on 3.99% increase with the extra money for adult services now included, following public feedback which supports the move.
The budget also includes proposals for more money to recruit social workers and to support children in care, investments into better broadband and continued focus on healthy and active communities.
Cllr Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: "We've worked very hard for the past few years to protect crucial services and keep council tax low, however it's no secret that our finances are still stretched.
"The fact that more than 40 per cent of those who took part in our consultation voted for a 3.99% rise including the National Adult Social Care Levy, demonstrates that people realise the difficult situation we are in.
"With more vulnerable people than ever needing our support, we have to focus our money where it's really needed and this extra £4.7million will help us to do that.
"We will continue to look for efficiencies and savings where we can to ensure we can still deliver good value services for Gloucestershire's tax payers."
If Cabinet agree the revised draft budget at its meeting on 3rd February, Full Council will then be asked to ratify and adopt the budget at its meeting on 17th February.
Notes to Editors
The proposed budget is £417.98 million for 2016/17:
· Adult services - £139million (inc help for people with learning disabilities, older people, vulnerable adults)
· National Adult Social Care Levy- £4.7million (ring fenced and can only be spent on adult social care inc residential and domiciliary care)
· Public Health - £26 million (ring-fenced grant, can't be used for other areas)
· Children & Families - £92 million (inc schools, youth support, children's centres, early years)
· Communities & Infrastructure - £79 million (inc highways, trading standards, libraries, fire service and waste)
For the full budget report visit http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=117&MId=8216&Ver=4
The full consultation report will be available on the council's website after Cabinet on 3rd February.
Gloucestershire County Council has prioritised adult social care since it started its efficiency drive in 2010, which have so far delivered over £114m in savings.
Gloucestershire currently charges £40 per year less than average county council and £150 per year less than the highest charging.
Council tax charges by authority https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445045/Table_7_text.xlsx