Worcestershire County Council is investing an extra £19.2 million into supporting the most vulnerable people in society and to improve prospects for the county’s children and young people.
The Council’s Budget for 2021/22 was today (Thursday) approved at a meeting of Full Council, as the county continues to respond to the Covid pandemic and support Worcestershire’s economic recovery.
The County Council has earmarked £260 million of its total budget next year to fund adult and community services and to improve the outcomes of children and young people.
Millions of pounds more will be invested in supporting the economic recovery and funding services that are most important to residents, including improving roads and pavements, tackling traffic congestion, flood mitigation and access to the countryside.
The Council will have spent more than £80 million on its response to the Covid-19 pandemic by the end of this financial year. Due to Government grants, it is still forecasting a balanced budget for this year and is putting forward a balanced budget for next financial year.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, the Leader of Worcestershire County Council, said: "This year has been an exceptional year for all of us. We are doing all we can to keep residents in Worcestershire safe, reduce the spread of the virus and support the most vulnerable in society.
“In our budget for the next financial year we will be investing an extra £11.5 million into tackling the growing financial demands of Worcestershire’s ageing population and an additional £7.7m on improving outcomes for our children and young people.
“We also plan to invest in those areas that residents have told us are most in need of improvement. They include improving the county's roads and pavements, cutting congestion and improving public transport. We are also investing in schemes that will reduce the risk of flooding.
“We recognise the difficulties that many households in Worcestershire are facing and because of that we are keeping our rise in Council Tax next year to 2.5%. This is lower than the increases that are being proposed in many areas and means that Council Tax rates in Worcestershire will remain amongst the lowest in the country for county councils.”
One per cent of the Council Tax increase is to be ring-fenced for Adult Social Care services. The increase is the equivalent to 63 pence per week for a band D property and means the Council Tax rates in Worcestershire will remain in the bottom quartile in the country.
An extra £6 million is to be invested into resurfacing the county’s roads. An additional £4 million is to be spent on repairing pavements and £2.5 million to improve street lighting across the county.
The Council’s total budget for 2021/22 is to be £356 million