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Councillors unanimous in approving budget to protect local services

Date Published: 25 February 2020
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Rutland County Council’s budget for the coming financial year was approved by Elected Members at a special Full Council meeting last night (Monday 24 February 2020).

Councillors at the meeting voted unanimously to support an overall revenue budget of £38.9million for 2020/21 – the total yearly cost of services ranging from road maintenance and bin collections to library services, fostering and adoption, school transport and care for older people.

As part of this year’s budget, the difficult decision was also taken to increase Council Tax by 3.99%, including a 2% precept solely to help fund vital adult social care services.

“Councillors have voted unanimously to approve our latest annual budget and, in doing so, protect the local services that we know people need and rely on. As a county, Rutland has lost nearly £3million of government funding in just five years. Meanwhile our costs have risen sharply because of inflation and growing demand for adult and children’s social care. This is forcing us to choose between raising Council Tax to protect services or making cutbacks that will affect families. We’ve chosen to protect services and have avoided frontline cuts by making savings in other areas and learning to do more with less.”
Councillor Gordon Brown, Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Finance

Rutland County Council has saved close to £12million since 2011 by changing the way it works, being more efficient, reducing staff costs and making better use of technology. A further £500,000 of savings are planned for 2020/21 – again, without making any cuts to frontline services.

Having been approved, Rutland County Council’s budget for 2020/21 includes the following spending plans for priority areas:

  • £12.75million for adult social care services that help people with needs arising from illness, disability, old age or hardship. Services include day care, community care, residential care and adult protection
  • £6million for Social Care services that support and protect vulnerable children, young people, their families and young carers. This includes fostering, adoption, residential care and support for children with disabilities
  • £2.6million for the collection of all household and commercial waste. This also includes recycling and disposal of waste, as well as the cost of running Rutland’s recycling centres
  • £1.23million to maintain roads, car parks, footpaths, bridges and street lighting in, together with the cost of winter gritting, traffic management and road safety
  • £1.05million to subsidise local buses and offer free travel for those of pensionable age
  • £1.86million to provide free school transport for children, as well as travel assistance for people with special educational needs and disabilities
  • £1.64million for street cleaning and grounds maintenance services, along with public protection work linked to trading standards, licensing and community safety

Changes to Council Tax approved as part of the annual budget will take effect from 1 April 2020. For an average Band D property in Rutland, the total Council Tax charge, including Adult Social Care Precept, will be £1,773 for the year (Rutland County Council only). This represents an increase of £68 compared to last year – £1.30 per week, or 33p a week for anyone in financial hardship.

“Rutland is in a difficult position because of the way that government currently funds local councils. The money that councils receive from central government isn’t shared equally or fairly, meaning Rutland gets around 50% less funding per person than the average unitary council. If we received average funding we would have an extra £5million for local services, making us less reliant on Council Tax.  We are adamant that Rutland should get its fair share of funding and will continue to push the government for this. Almost 60% of residents who took part in our budget consultation felt that Council spending should be funded mostly by government. In the meantime, given the current position, 54% agreed that we should raise Council Tax to protect key services, like social care. This is an incredibly difficult decision and not something we want to do. However, all councillors agreed this is something we must do.”
Councillor Gordon Brown 

Details of Rutland County Council’s Budget for 2020/21, together with a link to the in-depth report presented at Full Council on Monday 24 February, can be read on our Annual Budget page.

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