Wiltshire Council takes control of finances as first budget without reliance on government grants is unveiled

6th February 2019, 8:12am | By Marc Read |

Wiltshire Council takes control of finances as first budget without reliance on government grants is unveiled

Recently published budget proposals for 2019/20 detailing how Wiltshire Council is planning for a growth in its services have been discussed by its cabinet.

The budget has been reviewed by overview and scrutiny committee, endorsed by cabinet today ( 5 February),and will go to full council to make a final decision on the proposals on 26 February where members will also be asked to approve 2.99% rise in Council Tax, for 2019/20.

A key focus is to ensure a strong sustainable financial base exists in these challenging times for all public sector organisations.

Wiltshire Council has stable and steady budget growth of around £10M per year rising from £332m to £371 over the next five years. However the demand for services continues to grow, especially in social care, at a higher rate than the current budget and this means strong financial planning is vital, as well as a programme of transformation, digitisation and commercialisation.

The budget reflects increasing demand for care for the vulnerable, including adults and children with complex care needs and special educational needs, and the delay in the Government determining a new fairer funding settlement.

Next year the council will spend almost £332 million on more than 350 services. Spending plan proposals are aligned to our key priorities; growing the economy, strong communities, protecting those who are most vulnerable, and working with partners as an innovative and effective council.

The budget includes proposals to continue to develop the recently transformed adult social care services to respond to increased demand, the continued devolution of assets and services to local communities and creating a new local plan for effective and strategic planning to ensure homes, jobs and infrastructure needs of Wiltshire communities can be met.

Growth of £1.064 million has been included alongside new funding allocated from Government, creating a £8M fund in total, to revitalise and support towns and rural communities to deliver a more locally driven street scene service. The South Wiltshire Recovery team will continue to develop and implement a programme of work to ensure the recovery and revitalisation of South Wiltshire.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “Each year we face the tough challenge of balancing the budget to ensure that we can allocate sufficient funding to deliver our priorities – and in the ten years since we became Wiltshire Council I am proud to say we have done this.

“However, this year marks a huge change as we move away from relying on grants from the government, and take control of our own finances. This is vital as it allows us to plan with more certainty and support those who are most vulnerable.”

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