Have your say on Shropshire Council’s budget consultation
Shropshire Council is seeking the views of residents and organisations on its budget for 2019/20, which runs from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.
The budget consultation provides local people and organisations with the opportunity to tell the council what they think about the specific proposals outlined in the Financial Strategy for 2019/20.
These proposals aim to help address the difference between the limited funding the council receives, and the increasing cost of providing services such as adult social care and children’s social care up until 2020/21. The council is planning to deliver savings of £18.5m in 2019/20.
The council has delivered savings of over £48m in the last three years and, whilst this has enabled it to deliver balanced budgets each year, further work is still needed to deliver more savings as Government grants continue to reduce.
Further cuts on existing budget areas are becoming more and more difficult and so the council is looking at other ways to deliver a more sustainable funding position, including bringing in income.
The main pressure on council budgets is within the revenue budget (money it can use to deliver day-to-day services), and so the council is using its capital budget (money it can only use to invest) to develop some large-scale schemes that will deliver additional income or reduced costs. These include things like the purchase of the Shrewsbury shopping centres, the council’s Digital Transformation Programme, and the refurbishment of Shirehall.
This should relieve the pressure on the revenue budget, meaning less savings needed on the day-to-day running of essential services.
In terms of funding, the main area that the council has control over is setting the council tax level for the next year. For 2019/20, the council is proposing a 2.99% increase to council tax in addition to a 1% increase that is used specifically for social care. This is the maximum that the council can raise through council tax in this year and, if approved, it will bring in £5.926 million to help the council to deliver important services that the council is required to provide.
Peter Nutting, Shropshire Council’s Leader, said:
“As a result of substantial Government funding reductions, we need to significantly reduce our budget and make unprecedented changes to our services.
“In 2019/20 Shropshire Council is facing a budget shortfall of around £26.7m. Putting it simply, our income has fallen due to Government cuts, whilst demand for our vital services that protect some of our most vulnerable has increased.
“We’ve identified many solutions for next year, including investing in capital schemes which generate a return on investment. Also, it’s widely understood that investing in such schemes supports economic, housing and population growth and offers a better return on investment than just keeping money in a bank.
“Please take a few minutes to find out more about our proposed savings and let us know what you think.”
To find out more and have your say, please visit http://shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/2019-budget-consultation/
The results of the consultation will be presented to full Council and help inform councillors when they meet to set the council’s budget for 2019/20 on Thursday 28 February 2019.