County Council’s careful budget protects services for the most vulnerable

Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet today (Friday 1 February 2019) examined the Authority’s financial strategy and agreed a recommendation to the County Council to increase council tax by 2.99 per cent.

Feb 1 2019

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “For some years, the County Council has set and implemented a careful strategy designed to cope with rising demand for services.

“This planning has served us, and more importantly, those who depend on County Council services, well.  Our aim has been, and will continue to be, to protect services on which Hampshire residents depend - particularly those for the most vulnerable in our communities, especially the children in our care and the growing number of elderly residents needing support.”

“The rising pressures on services mean that our planned savings programme needs to deliver £140 million by April this year.  Nationally, the number of vulnerable children and adults continues to rise, and Hampshire is no exception. The population of over 75 year olds is set to increase by 30 per cent over the next seven years - an extra 5,500 people a year who may well need social care support, to varying degrees. The number of children in care has increased by 372 (28 per cent) in the last three and a half years alone. While we have robust action plans in place to help contain this increase, especially to avoid the need for a child to come into care, there is no doubt this rise in the number of people needing our help is the biggest pressure the County Council faces."

The County Council’s Cabinet agreed to recommend to the County Council a total 2.99 per cent increase in the council tax precept for Hampshire County Council’s element of the tax, for the financial year beginning 1 April 2019. This equates to an annual charge of £1,236.87 for a Band D property – an increase of just under £36 per year or 70 pence a week, and will generate an additional £18 million for County Council services.

Councillor Perry continued: “The proposed 2.99 per cent increase is much lower than last year’s increase and will mean Hampshire is likely to levy the second lowest council tax of any county council in the country.”

Alongside the revenue budget, Cabinet approved the capital budget for the coming financial year, and proposals for significant investment in Hampshire’s economy, jobs and the quality of the environment, with projects totalling just under £500million over the next three years.

Councillor Perry said: “Over the next three years, the County Council will be delivering one of the largest capital programmes of any county council which will see improvements to roads, bridges, walking and cycling infrastructure and school buildings.  If we are to sustain Hampshire’s quality of place, it is vitally important there is extra provision for roads and schools as we see more housing development, and we are doing our level best to make sure this happens in Hampshire.”

The capital programme is a very significant investment in Hampshire’s infrastructure, delivering schemes totalling £491.6 million between 2019 and 2022 and providing a big boost for the local economy. It will provide:

 • £160 million of investment in new and extended school buildings in Hampshire in the period 2019/20 to 2021/22 to ensure there is a school place for every child in Hampshire

• £122 million for structural maintenance and improvement of roads and bridges in Hampshire over the next three years

• £72 million for integrated transport schemes including £9 million specifically focused on walking and cycling improvements

• £94 million for major improvement of school and other County Council buildings over the next three years.

Final decisions on the budget will be made by the full County Council on 14 February 2019.

Read the full Cabinet report