Key priorities set in Hertfordshire Council’s spending and budget plans for 2020/21

Councillors agreed the budget on Tuesday, February 25

The budget for 2020/21, agreed by councillors last week, includes an increase of two per cent for the adult social care precept and an additional 1.99 per cent for general council tax.

Hertfordshire County Council offices

Hertfordshire County Council offices

This works out at an extra £1.04 a week for average Band D households.

Ralph Sangster, cabinet member for resources and performance, said: “We’ve got a strong track record for sound financial management in Hertfordshire, and it is for this reason that we have been able to approve a budget today, that both allows us to invest in key areas, and protect vital frontline services.

"We also know that from our budget consultation this year, that most residents who responded support this investment led strategy.

"Sixty percent of those residents told us that they would rather pay a small increase in council tax, such as a pound a week extra, to maintain local services.”

The key areas highlighted within the budget are:

> Supporting the vulnerable which includes a £12m investment to reward and help retain Hertfordshire’s 30,000 strong care workforce who make a real difference supporting older and disabled people – this will be broadly met by the extra two per cent in social care precept. Eight million pounds is also being invested to ensure there is sufficient funding to support the most vulnerable children in care. A further £3m is being invested for Special Education Needs transport.

> Meeting the challenges of a growing county which includes an investment of £8m next year, as part of a £37m five-year investment in the local road network.

> Protecting the environment: In July 2019, the county council agreed the declaration of a climate emergency. Alongside some of the existing initiatives, including the air quality strategy and the energy strategy, this budget includes £9m of capital to invest in public transport and bus priority measures. There will also be an initial £300,000 per year for the emerging Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy.

The County Council is also facing a number of financial challenges such as continued uncertainty of future government funding and increasing demands for vital support services for disabled and vulnerable children, adults and the elderly.

In response, the county has identified £17m of savings for next year. The council has also put in place innovative arrangements, such as working with the charitable trust Libraries for life to start in Spring 2020, which will save several hundreds of thousands of pounds while protecting the libraries service.

Council tax bills for the new financial year will be issued by Hertfordshire’s district councils from Monday, March 9, for more information visit: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/counciltax.