£1million climate change action fund approved as cabinet agree budget
Cabinet Members highlighted the importance of addressing climate change across all the council's work, at its meeting today, agreeing to set aside £1million to cut carbon emissions. Cabinet also agreed a boost of an additional £500k to the money available to individual councillors to spend on roads and footpaths in their areas.
With Cabinet’s endorsement of the proposed budget, Council will now debate it at its next meeting on 12 February.
The budget for 2020/21 totals £468million, a net increase of £31million on 2019/20. As well as an additional £12.9million going towards protecting the county’s vulnerable children, an initial £1million Action Fund will be set up to help tackle climate change.
The budget also sets aside around £73.6m of capital investment for schools and children and family services, bringing total expected capital investment to around £160m by 2023.
A further £49.8m has been allocated to deliver on the third year of the council’s £150m Your Highways programme.
Between 20 December and 17 January people across Gloucestershire commented on the councils proposed budget plans. 506 responses were received, of which 69% agreed with proposals, and 77% agreed we had the right priorities.
The budget going to Council includes raising around £6.3m to help fund services through a 1.99% increase in council tax. The council is also proposing to apply the national social care precept at 2%, raising an additional £6.3m to help manage the increase demand for adult care services. In total these changes would result in an increase of under £1 per week for the average Band D taxpayer.
The council continues to challenge itself to work more efficiently and effectively and as a result has identified £9.58m savings for next year, helping to meet increased demand and costs.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said:
“This budget will help deliver our ambitions for the future as well delivering the best possible services now. As well as investing an additional £12.9m to help protect our vulnerable young people and an initial £1m to tackle climate change, we are investing heavily to improve school facilities, our cycling network and flood alleviation work.
“Investing in communities across the county is essential and as a result we have doubled the amount available next year for local highways projects. This is in addition to our four year, £150m highways investment.
“Our recent consultation demonstrated strong support for our proposed budget and I’d like to thank everyone who to took the time to respond.”
The 2020/21 budget to be considered by Council sets out funding for a range of projects including:
- £73.6m for schools and children and family services, including £20m towards a £30m new secondary school in Cheltenham, £6.5m towards a new Special School , £3.2m towards the expansion of The Cotswold School, £6.2m towards increasing the number of primary school places in the Bishops Cleeve area and £2.5m towards the expansion of Leckhampton Primary School
- An additional £12.9m into children’s services
- In the region of £14.5m into Gloucester South West Bypass, Arle Court, Junction 11, Honeybourne cycle route extension, Gloucester to Quedgeley and Cheltenham to Bishop Cleeves cycle tracks.
- £1.5m to ensure GFRS’ firefighters have new and improved life saving equipment and to increase the services’ prevention and protection work
- £700k towards flood alleviation work. This forms part of investment over the coming years of more than £5.3m, which will significantly reduce the risk of flooding to hundreds of homes in the county.
- £3.1m to ensure delivering Broadband across the county
- Almost £5.0m to upgrade street lights and traffic signals
- £1m for councillors to invest in local highways schemes