Proposals for revenue and capital spending for 2020/21 will be on the agenda at the meeting, as part of the annual budget-setting process by the Authority, which proposes to spend £2.1 billion on delivering important public services to Hampshire’s 1.3 million residents during the next financial year.
County Council Leader, Councillor Keith Mans said: “This year’s budget plans follow on from our meticulous financial planning over the autumn. These aim to deliver the first of a two-year strategy to address an anticipated shortfall of a further £80 million in the County Council’s revenue budget by April 2021 – the expenditure needed to run the County Council and deliver local services to the people of Hampshire.
“Securing savings early, reinvesting in more efficient ways of working and using reserves prudently has served us well to date. This approach has enabled the County Council to remain in a strong financial position, and continue to deliver high performing services to residents - in the face of relentless pressure on our budgets.
“Our careful financial stewardship of public money also means that this year, some further one-off investment is possible into areas which include tackling climate change (up to £2 million), as well as ongoing work to maintain Hampshire’s 5,500 miles of roads. An extra £2 million each year is being proposed for fixing potholes, together with another £3 million for 2020/21. This is on top of the £10 million we spend annually on Operation Resilience - our long-term strategy to ensure Hampshire’s road network is more resilient to the impact of heavy traffic and worsening winters.
“Social care pressures also continue to top our list of priorities. In particular, we anticipate that the number of people aged over 75 in Hampshire will increase by almost a third over the next few years – that’s an extra 5,500 people or more, per year, who may well need social care support, to varying degrees. We must make sure our budget for the coming financial year takes this into account. However, nothing short of a major Government rethink on the future of social care funding nationally will address the longer-term financial strain in this area.”
The County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to agree a total 3.99 per cent increase in Hampshire County Council’s council tax precept for the financial year beginning 1 April 2020 – of which 2% is specifically for adults’ social care, in line with Government policy. This equates to an annual charge of £1,286.28 for a Band D property – an increase of just over £49 per year or 95 pence a week.
Councillor Mans added: “The proposed council tax precept for 2020/21 would generate an additional £25 million for delivering County Council services in 2020/21 and would mean that Hampshire is still likely to remain the 2nd lowest council tax of counties in the country.”
At the same time as considering revenue spending for the next financial year, the County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to consider the capital budget and proposals for major investment in Hampshire’s economy, jobs and the quality of the environment - with projects totalling £386.5 million over the next three years.
“This investment in Hampshire’s infrastructure would bring the four-year total investment by the County Council in the fabric of Hampshire, to £733 million, providing a huge boost for the local economy through jobs and construction,” said Councillor Mans.
£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
A final decision on the County Council’s budget for 2020/21 will be made by the full County Council on 13 February 2020.
View the report to be considered by the County Council’s Cabinet on 3 February 2020.