Rutland County Council is inviting residents and businesses to comment on a range of proposals that make up its draft annual budget for 2023/24.
The Council must set a balanced budget at the start of each year, explaining its financial position, how much is needed to run local services and where this money will come from.
Current economic conditions are placing huge pressure on the public sector, with the cost of delivering local services rising way beyond any increase in funding for councils. Despite making savings in 2022, increased demand for services, rising energy prices and an inflation rate of 10% over the past 12 months mean it will cost Rutland County Council £6.1million more to deliver the same local services in 2023/24, compared to last year.
For example, just 12 months ago, the council was able to place vulnerable residents in care beds at a cost of £535 a week, if needed. Now the cost is reaching £900 a week. The Council will meet such extra costs through a combination of savings, additional investment income and business rates, Government funding, Councill Tax and use of reserves.
The Council’s draft budget for 2023/24 allocates £46.549 million to run local services over the next 12 months (up from £44.029million last year). This is the total yearly cost of everything from road maintenance and recycling to library services, fostering and adoption, bus travel, school transport and care for older people.
In addition to spending plans for the year ahead, the Council’s draft budget includes proposals for a Council Tax rise of 2.99%, plus an Adult Social Care Precept of 2% which would be used specifically to fund adult social care services. If approved, the average increase in Council Tax for a Band D property in Rutland would be just under £8 per month, with an extra £33k of Council Tax Support made available to help anyone on a low income.
“Under the current economic conditions, councils are struggling like never before. Rutland is in a better position than many other authorities due to years of careful financial management and we have a plan to save £4.9m over the next four years, to help us close our funding gap. However, the situation remains precarious. With inflation at around 10%, we expect costs to keep rising and we don’t know how much funding we will get in the future. We would like a five-year funding settlement from the government to help us plan but have been given a one-year settlement, which is far from ideal. This budget is about making sure we remain financially stable and independent despite economic pressures and a lot of uncertainty around our future funding.”
Councillor Lucy Stephenson, Leader of Rutland County Council
Consultation on the Draft Budget is now live and runs until 5pm on Friday 3 February 2023. You can read more about the budget and comment online by going to: www.rutland.gov.uk/budget. Anyone without internet access can take part in the consultation by phoning Rutland County Council on: 01572 722 577.
Feedback received as part of the consultation will be reported to Cabinet and Council in February, so that all Councillors can consider the comments prior to a final budget being approved.