Posted: Tuesday 20th February 2018
Hertfordshire county councillors today (Tuesday 20 February) agreed the council’s budget for 2018/19. This year we will be raising our element of council tax by a total of 5.99%, with 3% of the increase for adult care services and the remaining 2.99% to help fund all our other services. This increase, essential to meet the challenges that the county council is facing, works out at an extra £1.44 a week for average Band D households.
David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Resources, said:
“We believe the budget we have set will enable us to meet the challenges of our ageing and growing population. We will continue to prioritise frontline services for those residents who most need our support. We will also be investing more in key areas, including an extra £29million for improvements on our unclassified road network – that’s the roads most of us live on as well as rural lanes.
“We will continue to develop and invest in new ways to deliver quality services in the most efficient way possible. We are establishing a dedicated growth and infrastructure team to provide the capacity and expertise to respond to the need for the 90,000 plus new homes planned by district and borough councils and the 90,000 new jobs required in Hertfordshire over the next 15 years.”
The challenges that the county council is facing are being felt by local authorities across the country. The number of people aged 80+ in Hertfordshire is expected to top 100,000 in 2035, an increase of 71% from 61,200 2017.
While it is great that people are living longer, healthier lives, it is placing extra demands on our already stretched social care system. At the same time we are providing more support to adults and children with complex needs as well as facing significant reductions in core government funding and growing inflationary pressures.
David Williams added:
“Our recent budget consultation showed that the majority of residents would rather see council tax increases than service reductions. While we would prefer not to place this extra burden on local council tax payers, we have a responsibility to do the best for all of our residents, particularly those most in need of our support.”