Shropshire Star

'Difficult decisions' to come as Shropshire Council faces £50 million financial challenge

Shropshire Council has warned of "very difficult decisions" to come, as a consultation on money-saving ideas comes to a close.

Shropshire Council has warned of "very difficult decisions" to come, as a consultation on money-saving ideas comes to a close

More than 1,000 responses have been collected during Shropshire Council’s six-week budget consultation, which aimed to gauge public opinion as it seeks to chop millions of pounds off its budget.

The local authority is facing the prospect of putting council tax up by 4.99 per cent but is still having to find tens of millions of pounds of savings.

Despite already delivering £41.3m of spending reduction - the most it has ever achieved - further reductions of £50m must now be made.

The council says that the "unprecedented financial pressure from ever-growing demand" for its services, like adults' and children’s social care and housing, mixed with high rates of inflation means it will have to consider making some very tough choices.

The consultation set out the council’s plans to close its budget gap and asked the public to share their priorities.

Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for finance, corporate resources and communities thanked everyone who took part, adding: “We have received a record number of responses to our budget consultation this year. The public are all too aware of the pressure facing local authorities all over the UK and we have been clear about the impact in Shropshire.

“Although we have successfully delivered over £40m of spending reductions in 2023/24, we have said for some time that the impact of inflation and demand pressures has not gone away.

"These factors have worsened our projections for 2024/25 and it will come as no surprise that we will therefore need to make very difficult decisions to overcome our financial challenge and become a modern and sustainable organisation for the future.

“The decisions that we have to make will have significant impact for communities across Shropshire who will see some major changes and some well-used services reducing or stopping altogether.

“We do not want to do this but we have no choice given the scale of challenge we face. However, we have to be financially sustainable and live within our means

“We will be providing more details about those services proposed to be affected in the next two weeks and significant changes will also require public consultation."

Feedback from the consultation will go to Shropshire Council's cabinet on February 21.