The Leader of Kent County Council has warned that big decisions will be needed in almost every area of the council’s activities to deliver a further £64 million of savings in next year’s budget (2018/19)
After six years of significant funding cuts from central government, Paul Carter has appealed to Ministers to ease the financial burden on Kent and other County Councils who have had to endure the most severe cuts in government grant of any part of local government.
Kent’s Leader says further efficiencies, unless extra financial support is provided, will for the first time have a material impact on front line services.
“KCC has been highly successful over the last six to seven years in delivering a whole range of cost reduction measures, enabling public money to support improved front line services to our residents.
“This is against significant additional pressures on demand-led services provided by the council as a result of significant population growth and the need to support a growing proportion of elderly people in the county”, said Paul Carter.
KCC needs to find an additional £64m of savings next year out of a budget of £933m.
The council is consulting on its proposal to increase council tax to contribute towards the £64 million of savings required.
A 1% rise on council tax raises £6 million.
In addition, the council is proposing to add the 2% social care precept introduced by central government last year.
The consultation asks people in Kent whether they support KCC’s proposals to respond to the financial challenges.
The county council is launching the consultation ahead of the government’s Autumn Budget Statement towards the end of November.
“The difficult decisions we make in next year’s budget will affect everyone in Kent. That’s why it is important that as many residents as possible take part in this year’s consultation”, says Paul Carter.
“There will be other ways for people without online access to engage.”
This is an opportunity for people to give their views on council tax and the services that are most important to them, as well as any other comments they wish to make about the forthcoming budget.
Details of the consultation and on how to take part can be found at: www.kent.gov.uk/budget