Budget plans boost for social care and investment in environment

The Council has today published its budget plans for the next year which would put an extra £7 million into social care to help address a long-term Government funding shortfall in this area.

Budget plans boost for social care and investment in environment

This funding would be on top of the Council’s existing commitments to social care which already accounts for around two-thirds of its net budget spending and will see over £45m invested in to Adults Social care and almost £35m in to Children’s Safeguarding next year.

It also seeks to create a new £60 million fund to help promote business growth and build more homes for private rent through the Council’s subsidiary Nuplace. 

Other key points in the budget proposals are extra investment totalling £30 million to deliver on a number priorities set out in the Council’s plan to protect, care and invest to create a better borough. This will be spread over the next four years and includes:

•£4 million for initiatives to include reducing the Council’s carbon footprint and supporting climate change projects. This follows the Council declaring a climate emergency, and pledged to go carbon neutral by 2030, as well as removing single-use plastics by 2023.

•£5 million for regeneration of borough town High Streets including Dawley, Ironbridge, Madeley, Newport, Oakengates and Wellington.

•£16 million for improvements to roads, footpaths, bridges and other structures

•£5 million for a range of environmental improvements

The Council plans to increase council tax by a total of 3.99% - equivalent to an extra 77p a week for the borough’s average B band home bill. All of this increase would go towards the extra funding for social care. 

Half of the 3.99% increase is the Government’s 2% “adult social care precept”, which it has assumed all councils with responsibility for these services will raise.

With most other councils opting for a similar increase, it is expected that Telford & Wrekin will continue to have one of the lowest rates of council tax for equivalent services in the region. In 2019, its council tax was the lowest in the Midlands. 

The Council Tax increase will raise just under £2.7m.

Cllr Lee Carter, cabinet member for finance, said: “This budget will see us again put extra funding into social care for adults and children. With an increasing ageing population needing ever more complex care and no let-up in rising numbers of children in care, the pressure on social care budgets are greater than ever. 

“The Government’s only answer is to pass the buck, and effectively the bill, on to council tax payers and we reluctantly have to ask our residents help fund the social care shortfall.

“This budget seeks to go some way to address the problem of funding social care while continuing our investment to create a better borough.

“It also seeks to improve business, boost our high streets, provide more homes for rent, repair, roads footpaths and older structures across the Borough, improve the environment and help tackle climate change.

“Many councils are in financial crisis with multi-million pound black holes in their budgets. Yet we are not and we will continue with our responsible and prudent approach which has seen us stay in budget for over a decade.

“We can achieve this while still having one of the lowest council tax rates in the Midlands.”

The Council will be seeking people’s view on its proposals until 31 January. More details about the proposals are at www.telford.gov.uk/budget and anyone can give their views to yourviewsmatter@telford.gov.uk  

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