Government settlement confirms council’s budget direction
Shropshire Council’s budget plans will not see any fundamental change, following the announcement of the Government’s budget settlement for councils on Monday 19 December 2022.
This will see the council’s spending power grow by 8.6% next year through a combination of money raised from council tax, Government grants and business rates, although some of this was already anticipated in the council’s budget plans. This figure includes the 4.99% increase in council tax, including a 2% precept increase for adult social care, that Shropshire Council is proposing for next year, and that the Government has already assumed in its calculations that it will make.
While the increase is welcome, it is broadly in line with the council’s expectations and will not make any significant changes to its budget plans published earlier this month.
These plans, subject to backing, will see the council make £50 million of savings next year, with most of this achieved through the transformation of services. The settlement gives some additional support for social care next year, which is welcomed.
The council is now working through the detail of the announcement and will update its detailed budget proposals before these are submitted to Cabinet in February 2023.
Lezley Picton, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:-
“While this gives us some help to address the pressures arising from inflation, which is very welcome, we must also contend with the demand pressures and funding gaps created by the pandemic. Most importantly, it doesn’t alter the scale of the budget challenge we face and what we need to do.
“We still have a budget gap of around £50 million that we must and will close. The proposals we have put forward will do, this largely through transformation; so having the minimum impact on services, particularly for the most vulnerable.
“It also shows that Government has assumed in its calculations that we will put council tax up by 4.99%, which is the equivalent to an extra £1.38 per week for a Band C home in Shropshire.”
The council’s budget proposals are out to consultation until Monday 30 January 2023, and anyone can have their say on these at Budget consultation 2023/2024 | Shropshire Council