Council Tax increase to protect frontline services and support investment in growth
Published: 22 Jan 2018
Hertfordshire County Council’s (HCC) Cabinet have put forward the following broad aims for the proposed 2018/19 budget that were agreed today [Monday 22 January]:
- Protecting vital frontline support to elderly and vulnerable residents
- Investment to meet the challenges of a growing county
- Delivering services in the most efficient way
Like many local authorities across the country, we are addressing the challenges of increased demand for services from an ageing and growing population, as well as having to provide support for adults and children living with more complex needs.
Meanwhile, the amount of money we receive in core grant funding from central government is falling by £22m in 2018/19 and at the same time we have faced growing inflationary pressures. This means that even without the extra demand, we would still need to spend more to provide the same level of service.
To meet these challenges and ensure that Hertfordshire can continue to be the County of Opportunity, we are proposing to adopt the general council tax increase allowed by the Government.
Our budget for 2018/19 will therefore include two elements of increase: 3% specifically to support adult social care; and a second element of 2.99% to help fund all of our services. This makes a total proposed increase of 5.99%.
David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Executive Member for Resources, said:
“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.
“As part of the proposed budget, we will also be investing in key areas to address the challenges of a growing county. Alongside the planned investment into the maintenance of our busiest roads, we are investing an additional £29m over the next four years to improve the condition of our unclassified road network - that’s the roads that most of us live on, as well as rural lanes.
“And we are already working together with local partners to provide the infrastructure to support the delivery of over 90,000 homes over the next 15 years – with us directly helping to deliver 6,000 of these news homes through our own property company, Herts Living.
“Finally, we will keep looking for different and innovative ways to deliver services in the most efficient way possible. For example, our new Family Centres will offer families all the support they previously received from children’s centres but we are also integrating the services of our Health Visitors and School Nurse teams to provide a more joined up family service while reducing overall costs.”
The proposed budget will now be considered by various county council Cabinet Panels and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee before the final recommendations are made by Cabinet on 19 February, for determination by the County Council on 20 February.