Shropshire Star

What 'difficult decisions' would you make to cut millions more from Shropshire Council's budget?

Shropshire Council is asking for the public's ideas as it seeks to chop millions of pounds off its budget.

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Shirehall Shrewsbury - Shropshire Council

The local authority is facing the prospect of putting the council tax up by 4.99 per cent but still having to lop tens of millions of pouds off its spending.

It says that like other areas up and down the country, Shropshire faces "a very tough financial position and needs your help in shaping some difficult decisions that lie ahead".

A spokesperson for the Conservative-run council said: "Nationally councils face a £4 billion shortfall over the next two years, while one in five councils are now warning they may need to declare themselves bankrupt in the next year."

The council has outlined how it plans to close a £50m budget gap, which it says is caused by ever increasing demand for council services, particularly social care, rising costs and stubbornly high inflation.

It is planning to reduce costs by improving "efficiency" while at the same time, increasing income, reducing spending with third parties and making sure that the organisation is the size it needs to be.

A consultation has now launched on plans to reduce what it spends while delivering on the priorities in The Shropshire Plan and bring its budget into balance to become a modern, efficient and sustainable council.

Councillor Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for finance, corporate resources and communities, said: “In the current financial year we have already identified £41m towards our current spending reductions target of £51.4m, mainly by changing how we deliver services, doing so more efficiently and focusing on prevention.

“However, this hasn’t stopped a rising tide of demand for social care for the most vulnerable adults and children in Shropshire, which already accounts for around £4 of every £5 we spend.

"It means that we’ll still need to find further ways to reduce our spend by around £50 million next year.  This is in spite of us proposing to raise council tax by 4.99 per cent as the Government’s own funding calculations expect us to." Councillor Butler added: “Our challenges are made harder because of some of Shropshire’s  unique characteristics.  For example, it costs more to run many services in such a large and sparsely populated county. We also have a larger older population than many other places in the UK, a group that is only getting bigger as people live longer and, often, need more social care support.

“This consultation seeks your views, to help us prioritise our approach to that very difficult task of making the spending and demand reductions we need to make, continuing to deliver on our priorities for Shropshire; a Healthy Population, a Healthy Environment, a Healthy Economy, as well as a Healthy well-run Organisation.”

Feedback from the consultation will inform the final budget proposals which will come back to full council in February.

The consultation is available at and runs until Sunday, January 28, 2024.

Copies of the consultation document are also available at the following Shropshire Council libraries: Bayston Hill, Bridgnorth, Church Stretton, The Lantern (Shrewsbury), Ludlow, Market Drayton, Much Wenlock, Oswestry, Pontesbury, Shrewsbury and Wem.

Due to the closure of Whitchurch Library, the town council is supporting the council to share the consultation, including in the sports hall at the civic centre.