Proposed 2019/20 budget increases funding for vulnerable children and roads
At its meeting on 19 December Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet will consider a draft budget for 2019/20, which proposes to make investment of almost £11m into children’s services as part of a £15m overall budget increase.
The budget also sets aside £179m of new capital investment for schools, community facilities and highways, including funding for the council’s £150m road improvements programme.
Through careful planning the council has delivered more than £160m in efficiency savings since 2011 to ensure the council goes on living within its means and focussing funding on its priority areas of supporting vulnerable people and the highways network.
With a clear message from older people that they want to remain at home and independent for as long as possible, the council is redesigning its adult care services - with a greater focus on early intervention and prevention; supporting independence and reducing the need for many long term care packages. These changes will help towards achieving the council’s overall efficiency savings of £20.9m in 2019/20.
The proposed budget for 2019/20, taking efficiencies into account, would be £428m and is based upon a 2.99% increase in Council Tax (£8.4m), to be invested in children’s services, to ensure improvements go from strength to strength. The proposal would see a £5.13 per month increase for the average Band D taxpayer. Based on current figures, when compared with other councils across the country, Gloucestershire sits in the bottom 25% when it comes to council tax levels. The council is also proposing to apply the national social care precept at 2% to raise an additional £5.6m to help manage the increase demand for adult care services.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of the council said: “Our first priority is protecting the most vulnerable people in Gloucestershire. This budget does that, with £11m extra to protect the most vulnerable children in our county, and £2m extra to care for vulnerable adults. We can only do that through our hard work, making savings and efficiencies across everything we do, over many years. We are also investing significant extra funding into Gloucestershire’s schools, and continuing our £150m investment into improving and upgrading the county roads.”
With previously agreed capital funding, the draft 2019/20 budget sets out an allocation for a range of projects including:
- £44.5m for schools - including £3.4m of a £3.6m scheme at Leckhampton School, £1.8m of a £3.35m at Barnwood Park, £1.7m of a £3.4m scheme at Fairford Primary, £1m of a £2.1m scheme at The John Moore Primary School and £9.8m of £30m needed for the new secondary school in Cheltenham
- £5.58m Disabled Facilities Grant to deliver adaptations to homes to support people living independently
- £57.67m towards highways schemes, including £6.9m pothole action fund, £5.3m towards of a £24m LED street lighting project, £3.99m towards £5m of improvements on the A419 improvements, £2.6m towards a £3.4m Cross Keys roundabout improvement scheme
- £1.32m of a £13.7m scheme into the Fastershire broadband programme
- £2.4m for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, including £1.2m for fire appliances and equipment and £300k for personal protection equipment
- £1.12m to upgrade Household Recycling Centres equipment and facilities
The budget also allocates funding for the second year of a three year £30k commitment per councillor to allow each councillor to make community based investments.
Subject to cabinet approval, a consultation on the budget will run from 20 December 2018 – 21 January 2019.
Further information can be found online here.