At the meeting of the full County Council, budget plans for the upcoming financial year were agreed, which will see funding prioritised for vulnerable children and adults, alongside key investments in Hampshire’s roads and infrastructure, and further commitment to tackling climate change.
Commending the budget plans to the Authority, Leader of the County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “The County Council has a strong financial track record. Our budget proposals are the result of some very careful planning which began last autumn to address significant financial pressures resulting from the anticipated shortfall in our revenue budget of a further £80 million by April 2021.
“Today, we have set our course for the year ahead – to maintain high performing services for the people of Hampshire while keeping council tax the 2nd lowest of counties nationally.”
The annual council tax charge for a Band D property will be £1,286.28 – an increase of 3.99%, or just over £49 per year or 95 pence a week. 2% of this increase will be spent specifically on adults’ social care, in line with Government policy.
Councillor Mans added: “Our priority remains to protect those who are most in need in our communities – vulnerable children, and the growing numbers of elderly people and adults with very complex care needs. A proportion of the Council Tax precept will be used specifically to meet adult social care pressures in 2020/21, and we continue to press Government Ministers for a long-term funding solution beyond 2021/22, as we simply cannot sustain growth in demand and cost indefinitely.
“I’m pleased that in the coming year, we will also be making significant one-off investments in Hampshire’s future - with £3 million for maintenance of the county’s 5,500 miles of roads and fixing potholes, and an extra £2 million of funding annually thereafter. Furthermore, and building on our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, we will be investing an additional £2 million in carbon reduction measures across the Authority and initiatives to help make Hampshire more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate.
“Maintaining Hampshire’s strong and prosperous economy has also been reflected in our budget plans – through a capital programme worth £386.5 million over the next three years to boost jobs and the quality of the environment. This provision for Hampshire’s infrastructure brings the County Council’s four-year total investment in the fabric of Hampshire, to £733 million – one of the largest capital programmes in the country.”
• £94.8 million for new and extended school buildings in Hampshire to ensure there is a school place for every child in Hampshire – and giving a total of 19,100 new school places by September 2023
• £115.8 million for structural maintenance and improvement of roads and bridges in Hampshire
• £45.8 million for integrated transport schemes including over £10 million specifically focused on walking and cycling improvements
• £107.7 million for major improvement of school and other County Council buildings