Council tax rise of 3.99 per cent planned for Shropshire

Council tax is due to rise by 3.99 per cent in Shropshire in the next financial year, as the authority aims to plug the gap in its budget.

Shropshire Council wants to raise council tax by 3.99 per cent
Shropshire Council wants to raise council tax by 3.99 per cent

The authority says it will add 1.99 per cent to council tax, as well as a further two per cent to go towards funding adult social care.

The council is now consulting with the public over the proposals.

It also says it will sell services and look to work with other public bodies in a bid to generate cash and save money.

In a statement released this afternoon, the council said: “Shropshire Council has delivered savings of over £62m in the last four years to address reducing government funding for services and an increase in core service costs such as adult social care and children’s social care.

“Whilst this has enabled us to deliver balanced budgets each year, further work is still required to deliver more savings as government grants continue to reduce in future years.

“Further cuts on existing budget areas are becoming more and more difficult, so we’re looking at other ways to deliver income into the council to put us on a more sustainable funding position.

“We’d like your views on proposals being taken forward for the 2020/21 financial year so that we can take account of the taxpayers’ views on these proposals.”

It added: “The main pressure on our budgets is within the revenue budget, so we’re trying to think about how we can use the capital budget to develop some large-scale schemes that will deliver additional income or reduced costs.

“This should then relieve the pressure on the revenue budget and reduce the pressure on delivering further savings in service areas.

“In terms of funding, the main area we have control over is setting the council tax level for the next year.

Demand

“For 2020/21 Shropshire Council we’re proposing a 1.99 per cent increase to council tax in addition to a two per cent increase that is used specifically for social care.

“This is the maximum that we can raise through council tax in this year.

“We’re obliged to provide certain statutory services, such as provision of care for adults, children’s safeguarding and social care, waste collection and disposal and home-to-school transport for children aged five to 16.

“Whilst savings are delivered where possible within these services to make them as efficient and economical as possible, we must continue to provide these services and fund any increase in demand.

“These services make up a significant proportion of our budget.

“The need to fund these services does increase the pressure on other areas we’re responsible for which are considered discretionary, so we’re looking to find other ways of bringing new or additional income in so that these discretionary services can be maintained where possible.”

The council said this could be through capital investments, through new income opportunities by selling services to partner organisations or through joint commissioning of services to deliver efficiencies between it and other public sector organisations.

“We look for these opportunities before considering cuts in services, but sometimes it’s necessary for services to be cut where the budget is too tight,” the statement added.

“We’re planning to deliver savings of £20.9m in 2020/21, consisting of £14m of new savings proposals in addition to £6.9m which had been agreed for 2020/21 in the previous year’s financial strategies.”

The closing date for public comments in relation to the proposals is February 18.

Full council will then discuss the proposals at a meeting at Shirehall on February 27.

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