Rutland County Council has set our its latest draft budget for the year 2024/25, while continuing to call on national government to provide fairer funding for local authorities.
The Council publishes a draft budget at the start of every year, explaining how much money is needed to run local services and where this funding will come from. The budget also confirms where Rutland County Council has found savings to help combat huge financial pressures caused by economic instability and growing demand for local services.
The Council’s net budget for 2024/25 is £49.1million. 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. The Council receives a further £32million in ringfenced funding, which must be spent on specific areas such as a dedicated grant for schools and money to pay housing benefit claims. Together, this gives a total budget of c.£81million.
The latest Local Government Finance Settlement has awarded Rutland County Council more money than it did in 2023/24. However, this increase is not enough to cover £5.2m of new budget pressures this year. The funding formula used by national government to determine how much councils can spend (their Core Spending Power) also assumes that local authorities in England will raise Council Tax by the maximum amount this year.
The Council’s draft budget contains proposals for a Council Tax rise of 2.99%, plus an Adult Social Care Precept of 2% which would be used to fund adult social care services. In Rutland, the cost of providing complex care for five adults has increased by 24%, from £0.850m to £1.057m, in just a year. Similarly, the cost of providing complex care for five children has risen from £1.068m to £1.235m in the past year – an increase of 16%.
If approved, the average increase in Council Tax for a Band D property in Rutland would be £7.72 a month. The Council’s budget also includes £1.28m of Council Tax support to help households on the lowest income.
“The financial pressure on local councils has never been greater. We have more responsibilities than ever before, while growing numbers of people need our help – particularly when it comes to social care. When you factor in the rising cost of delivering services, caused by soaring energy costs, staffing costs and inflation, it’s not hard to see why councils like Birmingham and Nottingham have recently issued Section 114 notices, effectively declaring bankruptcy. Councils nation-wide are facing a funding crisis.
“Our response to this crisis is a proactive budget that makes around £1.8million of savings while trying to protect the services people rely on. We’re also using money from our reserves to transform the Council, so we can be financially sustainable in the long term. We need national government to match these efforts by making sure all councils get fairer funding. Under the current national funding formula, we continue to receive less government funding per household than other councils. Because of this, Rutland now relies on Council Tax contributions for 77% of its core funding. Nationally, other authorities rely on Council Tax for around 56% of their core funding. We have written to the government with other local authorities to call for a better approach – one that’s fairer on the Council and Rutland residents. In the meantime, we’re working as hard as we can to deliver services on budget and reduce our costs.”
Council Leader Gale Waller
Rutland County Council has launched a public consultation which explains its latest draft budget and asks residents to share their views. The consultation runs until 5.00pm on Friday 2 February and includes questions on Rutland County Council’s refreshed Corporate Strategy, which was discussed by Cabinet on Thursday 11 January. Anyone without internet access can request further information and take part in the consultation by calling: 01572 722 577.
Feedback received as part of the consultation will be reported to Cabinet and Council in February, so that Councillors can consider the comments prior to a final budget being approved.