Herts County Council raises tax by maximum amount allowed as part plans to make £46m of 'savings'
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HERTFORDSHIRE County Council chiefs have drawn-up plans to make £46m of ‘savings’ and to increase council tax bills by almost five per cent, in 2024/25.
The county council provides a range of services that include education, social services, highways and public health – with an annual budget of around a billion pounds.
And now it has published its budget proposals – known as the ‘integrated plan’ – for the 2024/25 financial year.
Overall that plan would see the council’s spending increase, from £98million this year (23/24) to £1.1billion.
But it includes ‘savings’ of £46million, as well as plans to use £13m of council reserves and to increase council tax by 4.99 per cent.
Those ‘savings’ are described by the county council as ‘an ambitious programme of efficiencies and service transformtion’.
And they will include £14.4m from adult care services, £11m from children’s services and £2.8m from community protection.
In December – when the provisional local government financial settlement for 24/25 was announced – Conservative leader of the county council Cllr Richard Roberts had warned that the council could face ‘tough decisions’.
And as the council’s budget proposals were announced on Friday (January 5), he said that they would continue to push for additional government funding.
Commenting on the plan, Cllr Roberts said: “From keeping Hertfordshire moving to helping residents who need the most support, we’ll be spending over a billion pounds delivering services across Hertfordshire and focussing on what really matters to you.
“Despite years of prudent financial planning, increased demand for services and rising costs mean we now need to access our reserves and make significant savings to balance the budget and ensure we continue to maintain, improve and protect services.
“We’ll continue to lobby government for additional funds, particularly in relation to supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities where we continue to be significantly under-funded compared to other councils, but we’ll also do everything we can to alleviate our tax burden on you by making ourselves as streamlined and efficient as possible.”
As part of the plans the county council would increase its council tax precept by 4.99 per cent – which is the maximum possible without a referendum. Two per cent of that increase would be ring-fenced for adult social care.
In publishing the plans the council is also launching a survey where residents can feedback their views, which can be found at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk
- Latest estimates suggest the council will end this financial year (23/24) with an overspend of around £13m – despite cost-saving measures that have included a freeze on recruitment to all but essential roles.