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16 February 2017

Full Council agree budget despite national uncertainty and austerity

Today (Thursday 16 February 2017) Cumbria County Council’s Full Council have agreed the following:

To a general increase of Council Tax by 1.99% for 2017/18

To an additional precept for Adult Social Care of 2.00% for 2017/18

Full Council’s decision follows on from the recommendation made by Cabinet on 2 February and also follows a formal consultation process, which ran from the 20 October 2016 to 20 January 2017 and in which two thirds of respondents were in favour of this approach.

Full Council’s decisions have been made against a backdrop of:-

  • Continuing austerity in public finances with the Council having to agree and deliver £198 million of savings between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2017. And the council still needs to find further savings of nearly £52million for the period 2017 to 2020.

  •  Increasing demand led pressures upon key local services, in particular, care for the elderly and care for vulnerable adults and children.

  •  Uncertainty in relation to the draft Grant Settlement from Central Government, and general economic uncertainty in the medium term.

Councillor Patricia Bell, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council and Cabinet Member responsible for finance says

“This is the 8th year the council has been forced to make savings and even after this year there are more financial challenges ahead as the council still needs to find an additional £52 million by 2020.

This year’s budget is being recommended to Full Council following several years of sound strategic planning which has seen the council modernise, transform, and downsize.  We have and continue to invest in future services in Cumbria; one new care home has already opened and a further two state of the art care homes are on the way, for the people of Cumbria.

Although many decisions have been difficult, this year’s budget shows what can be achieved with robust savings plans and effective strategies. We are on track to deliver the majority of savings we require to deliver a balanced budget this year.

We have worked hard to protect front-line services across the county and to ensure that local residents continue to get the best possible value for money, and today’s budget recommendation is a reflection of that.

The cabinet will be proposing a council tax rise to council in line with our consultation; a rise of 1.99% council tax, plus a further 2% rise which is a ‘tax’ to use only on Adult Social Care which we are forced to pass on from Government.

The issue of social care funding is one of the major questions that, as a country, we will have to face in the coming years, and Cumbria is no exception. The government is expecting Councils with social care responsibilities to meet the growing pressures of social care, while at the same time failing to provide the cash that the service requires. However, this administration is not content to let the vulnerable or the elderly suffer because social care is underfunded. The County Council has therefore taken the difficult decision to raise council tax in order to ensure that our social care system gets at least some of the funding it needs”.

Today’s decision will mean a net revenue budget of £375.168m for 2017/18 and increases to council tax bands as follows:

Council Tax Levels                      2017/18£      2016/17£      Increase (pa) £

Band A (up to £40,000)                   854.02            821.25                32.77

Band B (£40,001 to £52,000)          996.34            958.12                38.22

Band C (£52,001 to £68,000)         1,138.69         1,095.00              43.69

Band D (£68,001 to £88,000)         1,281.02         1,231.87              49.15

Band E (£88,001 to £120,000)       1,565.70         1,505.62              60.08

Band F (£120,001 to £160,000)     1,850.36          1,779.37             70.99

Band G (£160,001 to £320,000)    2,135.04          2,053.12              81.92

Band H (£320,001 and over)        2,562.04          2,463.74              98.30


Cumbria County Council’s Full Council have agreed the budget for 2017