Date Published: 11 January 2017
A series of proposals that make up Rutland County Council’s draft annual budget for 2017/18 have been put forward by Cabinet, to be considered by Full Council next month.
People living in Rutland now have an opportunity to say what they think about the budget, with local communities asked to share their views on key proposals as part of a public consultation.
Among the measures included in the draft 2017/18 budget, Cabinet is proposing that Council increases Council Tax by 3.99% to offset rolling cuts in government funding and meet growing demand for local services. This 3.99% figure includes a 2% precept to fund social care in Rutland – services that look after people who have needs due to illness, disability, old age or poverty.
Public consultation on the draft budget, which can be read in full online, is now ongoing and will run until Friday 27th January 2017. Further information about how to take part is on display at the Council’s Catmose office and at local libraries.
The outcome of the consultation will be reported to Cabinet on 14th February and Council on 20th February 2017 will make the final decisions.
Councillor Tony Mathias, Acting Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance, said:
“The financial climate remains challenging for all local councils. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and 2017/18 Local Government Finance Settlement gave very little new money to councils and we must continue to fund local services with less and less support from central government.
“Alongside funding cuts and uncertainty, the Council continues to experience pressure on its budget because of increased demand for services, like social care, and changes in the economic environment, which continue to drive up our costs. Councils are expected to raise revenue locally through council tax to make up any shortfall at the same time as reducing spending.”
The overall funding that Rutland County Council receives from government is being reduced substantially year on year. Total annual government funding for the County was £12million in 2016/17. This is due to fall to just £8.2million in 2019/20 – a loss of almost £4million per year.
The Council has delivered savings of more than £8.5million over the past six years and further savings of £732k are planned for the coming financial year. However, the 2017/18 budget also includes £807k worth of new service pressures.
Cllr Mathias added: “Even if we increase Council Tax each year as government allows, the gap between what we have and what we need to spend on local services will be around £2million by 2019/20. We plan to use our reserves to balance the 2017/18 budget and protect frontline services but the Council cannot sustain this position long-term. Further reductions in spending, either through savings or by generating more income, will be needed in future and the sooner we do this the less severe it will need to be.”"For the next few years therefore, the Council’s priorities remain the same: to work towards reducing our deficit position by focusing resources on priority areas, continuing to achieve value for money, delivering further savings and looking for opportunities to generate more income from investments. It is absolutely right that we look after those people in our communities who need the most care and support so we must also embrace the flexibility given to us by the government to raise Council Tax and fund vital social care services. We have chosen to apply the Social Care precept at 2%. This may differ in other areas but, in all cases, this money must be spent on social care services.”
The key points to note in the draft 2017/18 budget are:
- The net cost of local services for 2017/18 is £33.6m, down from £34.1m last year
- The Council’s main source of government funding has been cut from £2.3m last year to just £889k this year and will be £0k by 2019/20
- The Council is planning to save £732k in the coming year
- The budget includes £807k of new service pressures
- The budget includes a contingency of £200k to meet in-year social care pressures, if needed
- The overall budget is balanced using £67k from our General Fund and £108k of reserves
- An increase in council tax of 3.99% is proposed, including a 2% precept to pay for social care services