19/12/2023 - Permalink

Shropshire Council’s budget plans unchanged after Government announces funding allocation

Related topics: Finance and budget

Shropshire Council’s budget plans remain unchanged after the Government confirms the financial settlement for local councils on Monday 18 December 2023. 

The announcement confirmed a 6.5% increase in funding, which will be delivered through a 4.99% increase in council tax (which includes a 2% adult social care precept), government grants and business rates. For the average home in Shropshire (Band D) this equates to £1.57 increase in Council Tax per week. 

The increase comes as local authorities up and down the country, including Shropshire, are reporting significant financial pressures arising from increased cost and demand for adults’ and children’s social care services. In Shropshire, this is estimated at almost £50m in the next financial year. 

Shropshire Council has released details of its plan to address this pressure as part of its medium-term financial strategy and has opened a public consultation to find out the priorities of residents, staff, businesses and stakeholders. 

Feedback from the consultation will be used to inform the difficult decisions that the council faces to balance its budget next year. 

Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for finance, corporate resources and communities said: 

“The 6.5 per cent increase in funding includes an assumption that councils will raise council tax to the maximum allowed 4.99% so it’s really a 1.5% increase. We are still working through the detail but the reality is that overall this settlement falls well short of the level of support that we need to address the problems that we are facing, in relation to inflation and increases in the national living wage, as well as the specific challenges in areas such as adult social care, children’s services, SEND and SEND transport and housing and homelessness.

“We have worked really hard to make spending reductions by changing the way we do things but the increase in demand for our statutory services continues to grow at pace.

“There is no doubt that we will have to find more ways to reduce costs and inevitably this will mean making reductions to valued local services whilst having to raise council tax to the maximum.

“This is not a situation restricted to Shropshire, this affects every council and I will be joining with other Council Leaders and asking our MPs to impress upon the Government the difficulties that local government faces.

“In the current financial year, we have a spending reductions target of £51.4m and, thanks to a programme of transformation informed by The Shropshire Plan and our medium-term financial strategy, we have been able to identify £41m of this already.

“Our plans to 2025 are to build on these strong foundations, focusing on prevention and targeting our resources where they are needed most.”

The council’s budget proposals are out to consultation until 28 January 2024, and anyone can have their say on these at Budget consultation 2024/25 | Shropshire Council