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East Midlands Chamber News

Leicestershire County Council announces medium-term financial strategy consultation

The County Council is currently consulting on its latest budget proposals. You can find out more about the four-year plan by clicking here.

A 20% surge in demand for children’s social care and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), combined with inflation, is driving up Leicestershire County Council’s costs by £117m.

The main components of the £117m rising costs are £59m of service pressure and £58m inflation costs, covering increases such as supplier charges and the National Living Wage.

The latest four-year plan sets out the need for £80m of savings, but also £16m of investment in tackling climate change, an extra £34m to support vulnerable people and £7m next year to top up road maintenance budgets.

The £80m breaks down as £24m of detailed savings and a plan to reduce SEND costs by £17m, leaving a £39m gap.

The £24m detailed savings include:

  • Recruiting more in-house foster carers to reduce expensive placements
  • Reducing adult social care costs by simplifying processes and speeding up support
  • Bringing together early help and prevention services - and delivering some in-house
  • Reduce disposal costs by recycling and re-using more waste
  • Generating more income from property investment

A total Council Tax rise of 3.99% is proposed for next year, including a two per cent precept to be invested in adult social care. A 3.99% Council Tax increase equates to just over £1 a week and would reduce the impact on services by generating £12m next year to support vulnerable people.

A range of one-off investments to support infrastructure for new homes features in the £600m capital programme. This includes building Melton relief road, creating 6,400 more school places - 5,900 mainstream and 500 SEND - expanding adult social care accommodation and rolling out high-speed broadband.

The Council is keen to ensure business views are received and taken into account in the consultation. There is an online questionnaire accessible through the link above. 

The consultation runs until 19 January. The final budget proposals will be agreed by the County Council at its meeting on 19 February.