A budget for a greener, healthier, more prosperous Gloucestershire
The county council’s Cabinet is set to agree a £519million budget that will begin building back better for Gloucestershire.
At its meeting on 22 December, the Cabinet will consider spending plans for the council that include an extra £100 million for our roads, funding for 26-miles of cycle track from Stroud to Bishop’s Cleeve, a £150 million injection into school buildings, investment in our market towns and high streets and ongoing support and protection of the most vulnerable in our communities. There is also a commitment to continuing investing in Gloucestershire’s fight against covid-19 and in the county’s firefighters.
Spending in 2022/23 will exceed £519million an increase of almost £37million on 2021/22 levels.
£14million additional investment is planned for children and young people services, making sure young people are given the best possible start in life and are kept safe from harm with almost £9million set to be invested in services for vulnerable adults and those living with a disability.
Of the spending planned for schools, the final £4million of the council’s overall £9.7million investment in the new SEMH school will be delivered, £6million is being committed towards the overall costs of the new secondary school in Cheltenham, £4million towards the new £7.5million Warden Hill Primary School and £7million towards the new Bishops Cleeve Primary School. A further £19.2million is set aside for a range of other school improvement and maintenance schemes across the county.
A range of cycle routes will benefit from almost £20million investment, including Gloucester to Cheltenham (£10.1million), Gloucester City Centre - cycle spine (£3.7million) and Cheltenham to Bishops Cleeve (£5.3million). There is also a further £500k investment planned for essential drainage works and almost £900k for highways maintenance.
The budget will allocates £30k to each councillor to spend on highways schemes within their division next year
A further £1million fund will also go towards tackling climate change, helping to meet the ambitious targets the council has set for the county.
A 300k Community Speedwatch Safety Fund is also being proposed, which would enable the council to work with district, town and parish councils and residents to identify communities where speed awareness activity like a '20 is plenty' campaign would make a difference to community safety.
£2.4million will be invested in the fire and rescue service, ensuring our fire fighters, who operate under incredibly high pressured and challenging circumstances, have the best possible life saving equipment.
£2million more is also being invested in delivering broadband to homes across the county.
The budget includes a council tax increase of 1.99%, which will secure around £10.2 million for services and a 1% adult social care levy, identifying around £3.7million to help protect vulnerable adults. Based on a band D property, this equates to a £42 increase.
Despite the extra investment, Gloucestershire County Council still expects to have one of the lowest council tax levels of any county council.
The council continues to challenge itself to work more efficiently and effectively and as a result has identified £13million in savings for next year, helping to meet increased demand and costs.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, said: “We’re proposing a budget that we believe delivers for you and your family. It invests in our future and kick starts the county’s post pandemic recovery. We continue to put protecting jobs and protecting our environment at the core of our plans, whilst keeping council tax levels among the lowest in the country. This is a budget for a greener, healthier more prosperous Gloucestershire.”
Subject to the cabinet agreeing the draft budget on 22 December, a public consultation will run until midday on 21 January 2022. At its meeting on 26 January 2022, Cabinet will then consider the views expressed through the consultation before proposing a final budget for the County Council to vote on at its meeting in February 2022.
For more information on the budget, go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/budget2022-23