2019/20 council budget agreed that invests in schools, vulnerable children and roads
Councillors today agreed a budget that will see almost £11m extra invested into children’s services and £2million in adult services, as part of an overall increase of £15m
The budget also includes £179m of new capital investment for schools, community facilities and highways, including funding for the council’s £150m road improvements programme.
An extra £160k for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue service and £25k to help the county get ready for 5G were added by the Cabinet at its meeting in January and form part of the now agreed budget.
Public consultation on the budget was held for four weeks, ending on 21 January, where people across Gloucestershire could comment on the councils proposed budget plans. 535 responses were received, of which 68% agreed with proposals, and 77% agreed we had the right priorities.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of the county council, said: “Our commitment to go on supporting the most vulnerable people in our county, investing ever more in schools and in resurfacing of our roads is clear for all to see in the budget agreed today. We have an unwavering commitment to delivering quality services for today and for an ambitious future for the county."
“The message I got loud and clear when out talking with people across the county was that we have the priorities and our investment plans are the right ones. Like the people of the county, we have an ambitious vision for the future of the county and the budget endorsed by Cabinet in January and agreed by council today shows that we are delivering.”
A number of amendments to the budget gained cross party support and have therefore been adopted into the 2019/20 budget:
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Leader for the Liberal Democrats Group said: "We are extremely pleased that the majority of our amendments were accepted and will form part of the budget for the year ahead. The areas that will receive additional investment as a result are vital services and make a real difference to people across the county.”
- Public transport - £150,000 from the MtC3 Savings Contingency to fund the pressures in maintaining subsidised bus services.
- Highways - £265,000 from 2019-20 Capital Receipts to increase Highways Local for each member from £20,000 to £25,000 (of which £15,000 relates to Capital spend).
- Physical Disabilities - £134,000 from the Adult Social Care levy to avoid the 1.2% cut to Services for People with Physical Disabilities.
- Public Health - £50,000 one-off contribution from the Vulnerable People’s Reserve for Suicide Prevention training.
- Public Health - £50,000 one-off contribution from the Vulnerable People’s Reserve for additional capacity in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) testing.
Cllr Lesley Williams, Leader for the Labour and Co-operative Group said: “Our amendments agreed as part of the budget will go some way to help children and young people that need the council’s support to ensure they have the best possible start in life and go onto be successful and engaged members of our communities.“
- Children’s Services - £60,000 one-off contribution from the Vulnerable People’s Reserve to provide a District Youth Pot (£10,000 in each area) controlled by County Councillors in each District.
- Children’s Services - £50,000 from the Vulnerable People’s Reserve to tackle Holiday Hunger.
- Highways - £30,000 one-off contribution from the MTC3 Savings Contingency for mapping existing cycle ways in the county.
- Children’s Services - £50,000 one-off contribution from the Vulnerable People’s Reserve for the investment and promotion of Gloucestershire Credit Union with a specific goal of supporting Care Leavers.
- Children’s Services – To further promote the Apprentice Travel Card (scheme already in the Council base budget).
The agreed budget for 2019/20, taking efficiencies into account is £429.921 and is based upon a 2.99% increase in Council Tax (£8.3m), to be invested in children’s services, making sure improvements go from strength to strength. Based on current figures, when compared with other councils across the country, Gloucestershire sits in the bottom 25 per cent when it comes to council tax levels. The council has also agreed to applying the national social care precept at two per cent, which will raise an additional £5.6m to help manage the increase demand for adult care services. This will see a £5.12 per month increase for the average Band D taxpayer.