Cheshire East Council today publishes a report which outlines its draft proposals for how the council could deliver a balanced budget and direct its resources more effectively to meet the needs of its residents.
The public consultation on the pre-budget report for 2017 – 2020 will now begin and will run from November 4 to January 10. The responses will then be analysed and considered before budget-setting decisions are taken by a meeting of full council in February 2017.
Cheshire East is a high-performing council which delivers over 500 services every day to meet the needs of local people and businesses. Despite the fact that the council already delivers good services and provides value for money to its residents, it is still required to find £100m to balance the books over the next three years.
This is because Cheshire East, like most councils, is facing significant reductions in funding from central government whilst facing increasing demand from those who need support from our social care services.
These proposals support the council’s broad aims to ensure that it continues to:
· Support all of its communities
· Ensure that Cheshire East has a strong and resilient economy
· Provide people the right level of skills and education to secure employment
· Protect and enhance the quality of the natural and built environment
· Ensuring local people live well and longer
In addition the council is committed to running a responsible, effective and efficient organisation so that as much of its resources as possible can be targeted to its front line services.
The council proposes to meet this financial challenge through a mix of tax increases and changing its service offer. The overall aim is to make the council financially self-sufficient – by reducing its reliance on central government revenue support grant from £40m in 2015/16 to nil by 2020.
It is proposed to increase Council Tax by 3.99 per cent to invest in vital frontline services. Half of this rise will go to adult social care. This follows last April’s 3.75 per cent increase after five years of Council Tax freeze.
Councillor Peter Groves, cabinet member for finance and assets, said: “Cheshire East is a high-performing authority and a great place to live, work, do business and visit. Our residents enjoy good living standards and, when they need help from the Council, we are consistently recognised as providing excellent services.
“However, setting out our financial plans for the next three years is particularly challenging in the UK-wide context of big reductions in government grants to councils and rising demand for vital services such as social care.
He added: “The consultation document provides a strong set of initial proposals that balance the council’s medium-term finances. It is also a real opportunity for interested parties to engage in the budget-setting process.
“Cheshire East puts its residents first. I value the opinions of local residents, businesses and organisations and I would encourage people to give their views via the consultation.”
“New ideas that could help the council achieve its outcomes, are always welcome, so I would encourage people to respond to the consultation.”
Cheshire East will now invite feedback from residents, businesses, councillors, staff, town and parish councils and other stakeholders to inform decisions. This consultation will be an ongoing process over the next three years.