County Council approves budget to spend more on services for vulnerable residents

Published

This includes investing £3million into Suffolk 2020 community project fund.

Following its approval today, Suffolk County Council will increase its spending powers again this coming financial year, particularly in Children’s and Adults services where demand continues to rise year on year.

In 2020/2021, the council’s budget will rise to £556million which represents an increase of £37m (7.1%) from 2019/20. Children’s and Adults Services represent around 70% of the council’s overall spend.

This year’s budget is based on a 12-month financial settlement from government, rather than the 3 or 4 year agreement which is usually offered.

As well as addressing the need to maintain funding for key services, the council will invest an additional £3.5m into one-year programmes, including the Suffolk 2020 fund (£3m) and a highways investment fund (£500k) to support the renewal of road markings and road safety around schools.

The Suffolk 2020 fund will be used for projects that can deliver a real difference for local communities. To qualify for the fund, projects must link to one of the themes which helps the council address the climate emergency it has declared and improves Suffolk for all residents in years to come:

Projects must relate to:

  • Carbon reduction
  • Carbon offset
  • Road safety
  • Natural environment
  • Built environment
  • Innovation
  • Use of technology

Each project must offer a clear return on investment through positive economic, social or environmental impact. County Councillors can put ideas forward on behalf of their community and must seek the sponsorship of a cabinet member for consideration.

Further details of this programme will be made available in due course.

Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, Councillor Gordon Jones said:

“The setting of a balanced budget is never easy. Especially given the continuing financial challenges we have seen during the last few years in a number of our services. Due to the nature of this year’s 12-month financial settlement from government, I am pleased we can offer a somewhat different budget proposition, investing in council services for the most vulnerable residents and utilising additional funding for community-based projects through our capital budget during 2020.

“It is right that we continue to focus our budget and resources where they will have the biggest impact. I am pleased to say this year our calls have been answered, at least in part…The provisional local government settlement for this year enables the Council to set a budget for 2020/2021 that will see no change to current service levels over and above those planned through our ongoing transformation programmes.

“Unfortunately however, as we are only getting a 12-month settlement, we lack the longer term certainty needed to deal with the large departmental budgets that we manage including Children’s and Adults Services. We are therefore taking the measured decision to raise council tax by 1.98 per cent and implement a 2 per cent rise in the Adult Social Care Precept which is ring-fenced for use within our highest demand service.”

Read the full details of the council report here.