Views wanted on proposed 2022/23 building back better for Gloucestershire budget
At its meeting today (22 December 2021) the county council’s Cabinet agreed a proposed 2022/23 budget of £519.6 million, an increase of almost £37million on 2021/22 levels, and to begin a four-week public consultation.
Spending plans 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.
£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 more will be committed towards the new secondary school in Cheltenham, an additional £4million towards the new Warden Hill Primary School and another £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 allocates £30k to each councillor to spend next year on highways schemes within their division.
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 monthly increase of about £3.50.
Despite the extra investment, the 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 and effectively and as a result has identified £13million in savings and efficiencies for next year, helping to meet increased demand and costs.
For more information on the budget and details on how to have your say visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/budget2022-23
Public consultation runs until midday on 21 January 2022.
At its meeting on 26 January 2022, Cabinet will 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.