Staffordshire County Council is set to freeze council tax for the fourth consecutive year under budget plans going before cabinet on Wednesday 5th February.
The County Council will be making £19.3m of savings in 2014-15 but has pledged to continue investing in Staffordshire’s economy and working ever closer with partners to improve people’s quality of life.
Inflation and greater demand for services including care for the elderly, care for people with learning disabilities and services for vulnerable children will see the county council’s costs increase next year.
To help manage rising costs and reducing funding – and in the context of the changing needs of local people – the county council has pledged to work even closer with Staffordshire’s public and private bodies to meet the needs of residents in key areas such as health, education and crime.
If agreed by cabinet, the new strategic plan and medium term financial strategy – which sets out the local authority’s vision for the county, alongside draft investment and savings plans for the next five years – will go to a meeting of the full council for final approval on Thursday 13th February.
Ian Parry, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources and Transformation on Staffordshire County Council, said:
“While our economy and job creation is moving in the right direction we do not want to place any extra demands on Staffordshire people’s finances, so we are looking to freeze council tax for the fourth year in a row.
“However, our income is considerably reducing, so we need to be really clear about priorities and find new, better ways of doing things. We will therefore promote greater responsibility and independence where we can to reduce sensibly the demand for public services.
“Over the last five years, the County Council has made £130m of savings while freezing council tax, investing in our economy to create jobs and working closer with partners to get the maximum impact from the £7.5 billion of taxpayers’ money spent in Staffordshire every year.
“The Medium Term Financial Strategy sets out our spending plans for the next five years. There are more tough challenges ahead for all of us and the council will continue to change in that time, to ensure we meet the needs of people in the future and support those who need our help most.
“This will not be easy and we will only succeed by working with communities and our partners to rise to the challenges ahead.”
What do you think about the Council decision? Would you rather pay a little more to not see cuts?