[A]t a meeting today, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet discussed how it can meet the financial challenges as it looks ahead to 2022. They also discussed proposals on a new Council Plan, including a new vision, new ways of working, and a new set of outcomes to deliver the best possible services for the people of Cumbria.
Cabinet agreed to the following recommendations which will now be considered at a meeting of Cumbria County Council’s Full Council on 15 February 2018:
- A general increase of Council Tax by 1.99% for 2018/19;
- An additional precept for Adult Social Care of 2.00% for 2018/19;
- A new budget and Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2018-2022;
- A new Council plan for 2018-2022.
Cabinet’s proposals follow a public consultation which ran from the 23 November 2017 to 8 January 2018. Over half of the public who responded supported the council’s plans to increase the county council’s share of council tax by 1.99%. This, together with the Government’s 2% precept increase to help fund the rising costs of Adult Social Care, will take the proposed total increase for the county council element of the council tax to 3.99%. Over half of respondents also supported the council’s proposed new vision and new outcomes.
Councillor Ian Stewart, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council and portfolio holder with responsibility for finance said: “The ongoing financial pressures on the public sector remain difficult and challenging. Much of this pressure is down to the widespread uncertainty we face regarding our funding but also the fact that Council services to support children, young people, vulnerable adults and older people currently face unprecedented and rising demand.
“What is clear is that the Council will have to deliver essential services with less money. All of this means we have had to look quite radically at how we do business. Looking at transforming our services over the next 3 to 4 years to deliver on our responsibilities to the people of Cumbria, difficult decisions need to be made, however customers will remain at the heart of what we do as we also become more enterprising and efficient.
“Efficiency alone is no longer sufficient and a fresh approach is now required. Our new Council Plan will set the framework for how we work differently in the future and our budget and Medium Term Financial plan will provide the financial foundation for us as we look at becoming more entrepreneurial as a council, maximising opportunities to generate income and work with others more closely.”