Hampshire County Council sets out £2.6bn spending plans for local services in 2024/25

Spending proposals for 2024/25, totalling £2.6bn, to keep delivering hundreds of local services to Hampshire’s 1.4 million residents will be considered by Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet next week

Jan 30 2024

At their meeting on Tuesday 6 February, the Authority’s Executive Members will review spending proposals for the coming financial year which aim to continue to deliver important public services while supporting the most vulnerable children and adults in Hampshire.

County Council Leader, Councillor Rob Humby explained: “Setting a responsible, balanced budget for the year ahead is one of our key duties, ensuring we make the most of taxpayers’ money to deliver important local services to the people of Hampshire. However, these remain challenging times for everyone, including across local government nationally, as we have to keep finding ways to stretch the budgets that we have available, to meet inflation pressures and increased costs associated with higher numbers of the most vulnerable children and adults who need our help – which in Hampshire will cost an extra £152m from April.

“We’ve always managed Hampshire’s budget with the utmost care so that it benefits residents in the greatest need and delivers the best possible value for money for Hampshire’s taxpayers, within our means, and this remains our focus now and into future years. We very much welcome the extra funding recently announced by Government for local councils for this coming financial year which will help towards delivering vital services for the most vulnerable people in our communities, and I would like to thank our local MPs for their efforts in lobbying the Government and highlighting the immense financial pressures that all councils are under.

“We are already consulting local people on options to meet a £132m budget shortfall expected by April 2025, but for the coming financial year 2024/25, the budget is where we expected it to be as we have looked closely at various options to balance the books and meet our responsibilities to keep supporting growing numbers of our most vulnerable residents. This includes using our reserves to help plug the funding gaps – a crucial lifeline in maintaining Hampshire’s local services to date – alongside a proposed increase to our portion of the Council Tax bill.

“From 1 April 2024, a council tax increase of 4.99% is being put forward, of which 2% would go specifically towards adult social care and supporting the county’s higher numbers of older people and adults with complex needs and disabilities. This recommended increase would be the maximum allowed by Government before we would need to hold a referendum, and could help to generate an extra £39m towards our overall service delivery costs. If approved, this would work out as around an extra £1.40 for households to pay per week.

“We will be considering this proposed increase very carefully when the Cabinet meets on 6 February as we know that household budgets also remain under significant pressure. If agreed by Cabinet, and the full County Council on 22 February, the recommended increase, which is below the current rate of retail price inflation, would still mean that Hampshire has one of the lowest council tax of any county in England.”

Alongside revenue spending plans for the next financial year, the County Council’s Cabinet will also receive capital budget proposals, with building and infrastructure projects totalling £880.6m over the next three years. 

Councillor Humby added: “This planned investment in Hampshire’s infrastructure is one of the largest anywhere in the country. It would bring the four-year total investment by the County Council in the fabric of Hampshire, to £1.4bn, providing a huge boost to the local economy through jobs, skills and construction, and contributing towards the County Council’s commitment to tackling climate change, becoming carbon neutral and resilient to the impacts of a 2℃ temperature rise by 2050.”

The proposed three-year programme includes:
- £173m to safeguard the long-term viability of the Older Adult care estate.
- £192m investment in new and extended school buildings to provide school places for children in Hampshire - delivering a further 5,312 school places and giving a total of 19,989 new school places by September 2027.
- £163m for structural maintenance and improvement of roads and bridges.
- £73m of Integrated Transport Plan schemes including £43m of schemes focused around walking and/or cycling improvements.
- £76m to address condition-based enhancements to schools.

A final decision on the County Council’s budget for 2024/25 will be made by the full County Council on 22 February 2024.