Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans said: “The sheer size of the savings target for April 2021, coupled with growing service demands, and almost £0.5 billion of cost reductions already made over the last nine years - makes this our greatest financial challenge to date.
“This week’s meeting is the culmination of a long and detailed planning process in response to this prospect. It has included seeking important feedback from residents over the summer and incorporating their views into the proposals.
“At the heart of the plan is our tried and tested strategy of investing savings early to deliver more efficient and cost-effective ways of working, maximising income generation opportunities and carefully using our reserves to address funding gaps to meet one-off demand pressures. It has served us very well to date and residents have told us they support it.
“Some welcome funding from central Government, announced in September, has also provided much-needed financial breathing-space in our planning, which will partly help us meet the increasing demand pressures in social care services for next year. But it is only for one year.
“In the meantime, we have an opportunity to influence future funding decisions by central Government beyond the next year – by pressing for a fairer deal for shire councils such as Hampshire, and a long-term national funding strategy to help local authorities address growing social care pressures.
“Continuing to engage with our MPs - to garner their support on these big-ticket issues will be crucial in helping to secure a more equitable financial settlement - and I’m grateful for their involvement to-date. Essentially, we want to secure the best deal for Hampshire’s residents.”