Approving a balanced budget

Thursday saw our first Full Council meeting of 2019, and it was quite an important one as we approved our budget for the next financial year.

As I’ve written about many times before, we face real challenges as a county council with the rising costs in adult social care and children’s services. But, after taking early, decisive action to close a £35m forecasted shortfall over the next year we’ve managed to deliver a balanced budget.

Right from the start we have been honest with residents about the scale of the challenge and the difficult decisions we have faced and will continue to face. 

We have also listened to people’s concerns and responded where possible including: Continuing to fund the school crossing patrol service, keeping all-day concessionary travel for disabled people and providing funding transition for the community and voluntary sector.

As well as lobbying Government and getting some additional money for highways and social care, we also managed to secure additional funding by successfully bidding to be part of a national business rates pilot scheme.

While we can no longer do or fund everything we would like to, we remain focused on supporting the most vulnerable in our communities and supporting people to find their own local alternative and affordable options.

Council tax will rise by 2.95 per cent this year, less than 10p per day more for a Band D property and still the third lowest county council tax in the country.

We continue to have a good story to tell here in Staffordshire. With near full employment at 1.3% seeking work, the average full time weekly gross wage increasing to £551 per week, more job creation and 96 per cent broadband coverage, Staffordshire remains a fantastic and affordable place to live.

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