Council's budget to protect services for children and vulnerable people
26 February 2021Cheshire West and Chester Council has set a budget to protect vital services for children and vulnerable people and support the borough’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The budget for 2021/22 will also continue to support the regeneration of Cheshire West and Chester’s city and town centres, respond to the challenges of climate change and provide support for people living in poverty in the borough.
In setting the balanced budget at its meeting on Thursday, 25 February, the Council was faced with the need to make millions of pounds worth of savings whilst continuing to invest in the borough's communities and people.
The Council has put aside £9.7m to respond to the pressures of COVID-19 and will invest more than £12m extra in Adult Services over the year ahead.
Council Tax, which makes up more than half of the budget, will rise by 4.99 per cent. This is made up of a basic rise of 1.99 per cent and a three per cent increase to fund Adult Services. The three per cent precept will generate £5.8m for Adult Social Care, with the 1.99 per cent element raising £3.861m of funding.
This increase will mean an annual Council Tax of £1,659.61 for a Band D property, which equates to an extra £1.51 a week.
Cheshire West and Chester Council continues to face unprecedented pressure on its finances. Over the next four years the Council is facing a funding gap of £83.4m.
At the same time, the Council will invest an extra £39.8m in services which includes tackling the Climate and Poverty Emergencies as well as an investment of £0.450m in mental health.
The Council will also make an extra £250,000 available to support communities affected by the recent flooding in the borough.
In presenting the balanced budget to Council, Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Carol Gahan, said: “The key financial challenges facing the Council continue to be as a result of growth in demand and complexity in Adults Social Care and Children’s Services.
“These are statutory services that we must deliver and they account for just over 60 per cent of our net budget. We must continue our investment if we are to see the improvements that our service users want and need. This investment will also allow the Council to identify opportunities to eventually reduce costs through different, more efficient and effective ways of delivering services.”
Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Louise Gittins, said: “It is clear that our borough faces challenges in the years ahead. The coronavirus pandemic has hit our local economy hard and we continue to face the challenges presented by increased pressure on our finances.
“Our budget reflects our plan for recovery and renewal. It will support the creation of new jobs and skills, tackle the climate emergency and create a greener and fairer economy.
“Ultimately we must provide services to protect and support those people within our community who need them the most.
“We all have a duty to protect our children in care, our older people, those fleeing domestic abuse and persecution and those who are continuing to suffer as a result of the pandemic.
“It means that some people will have to pay a little more in these difficult times and that is never a decision we take lightly, but it is only by working together that we can meet the challenges we collectively face and create a better future for everyone in our borough.”