Warwickshire County Council has set its budget for 2024/25 along with its medium-term financial strategy.
In setting its budget and medium-term financial strategy, the Council will continue to protect valued services for those most in need and provide universal services for all, while investing in key priorities.
At the meeting of County Council today (8 February) Councillors agreed the Council’s 2024/25 budget together with its 2024 – 29 Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). The MTFS will ensure the County Council’s finances remain robust and sustainable, whilst being ambitious in its plans to make Warwickshire the best it can be, sustainable now and for future generations.
Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property, Councillor Peter Butlin said:
“In a really difficult environment, where local government faces unprecedented financial pressures, our budget and medium-term financial strategy will ensure the Council has the best chance to deliver on our ambitions for the County while building in resilience and flexibility to respond to future challenges.
“This does involve making some savings and difficult choices. But we plan robustly, and this means we are better placed than many councils.
“Our responsible financial management means we can make substantial capital investment such as additional school places to improve the life chances of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.”
Areas for investment
The Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy sets out several areas for investment over the next five years, this includes:
- a key priority to bring forward business cases for significant capital investment in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to increase substantially the amount of resource provision available in mainstream schools, and further capital investment from Council funds to provide new school places in the next five years;
- £28.3m to protect our elderly citizens and vulnerable adults to fund additional demand and manage the cost of placements whilst continuing to make progress on our vision of greater integration between health and social care and the adult social care reform agenda;
- £8.3m in our children’s social care services, including investment of £4.9m for the increased cost and demand for children’s placements and a further £2m support until our own children’s homes are fully operational;
- £8.9m invested in home to school transport, particularly to support children and young people with special educational needs, to ensure we continue to provide services in line with our policy whilst being able to respond to the increasing demand and cost of the service;
- £1.2m to meet the increased capacity in our support services to help meet the demand pressures in children and families, education and adult social care; and
- £0.5 million to support our successful network of Community Pantries to move to a more sustainable long-term delivery model.
A 4.99% Council Tax increase was agreed. This increase includes a 2% increase from the adult social care levy and a 2.99% core council tax increase for all services. This is equivalent to an increase of £1.59p per week for a Band D dwelling.
Councillor Butlin continues:
“We do not take the Council Tax increase lightly and wish we did not need to take the maximum, but we have no option. Demand and cost pressures in social care, education, and home to school transport far exceed the maximum resources we can generate, and still require significant and very challenging savings to balance the budget.
“We must protect service delivery and look after the vulnerable, taking responsible decisions to keep the Council on a sustainable and resilient financial footing.”
In order to deliver value for money for the taxpayers of Warwickshire and meet the changing needs of its communities, the Council will additionally deliver £16.2 million of budget reductions in 2024/25, increasing to £64 million by 2029, through better procurement, improvements in efficiency, increased income and delivering reductions in demand. This builds on the £15.158 million savings that the council planned to deliver in 2023/24 and £122 million over the last 10 years.
View the webcast of the full Council meeting and Information and documents from the meeting here.
Anyone struggling to pay their council tax is advised to contact their local District or Borough Council who can advise whether they are eligible for a discount or exemption.
Further advice about local and national support available for people struggling to manage increased household costs can be found at www.costoflivingwarwickshire.co.uk