Still time to have your say on KCC budget consultation

With the government’s Autumn Statement being made next week, KCC is reminding residents there is just over a week to go to have their say on KCC’s draft budget.

The council launched a six-week consultation last month revealing it needed to find another £108 million to balance the books.

It comes in response to rising spending demands and costs and further funding cuts from central government.

John Simmonds: “The decisions we make in our budget will affect everyone in Kent. That’s why we want to engage with as many residents as possible."

John Simmonds: “The decisions we make in our budget will affect everyone in Kent. That’s why we want to engage with as many residents as possible.”

KCC Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement John Simmonds said: “So far we have identified further savings of £75 million for the next financial year and that is on top of savings of more than half a billion pounds over the last six years.

“It is really important to us that as many people as possible take part in our budget consultation and let us know what their priorities are when it comes to how we spend our limited finances.

“The government has placed an enormous challenge on us by imposing some of the biggest cuts compared to other parts of the public sector.

“We have done a lot of forward planning and facing the challenge early on we believe we are in a better position than most – but we would like to hear from you on whether you agree with our priorities.

“The decisions we make will affect everyone in Kent. That’s why we want to engage with as many residents as possible.”

The additional pressures come from a combination of factors – rising prices; the rising demand of more elderly people to support and the introduction of the National Living Wage increasing costs for social care providers.

KCC is now asking whether, for the fourth consecutive year, people would accept an increase on the council tax of 1.99% and the additional 2% social care precept.

This would contribute collectively £23.7m towards balancing the books.

If both increases are accepted, it would mean the KCC precept on a Band C property increasing from £1,007.60 to £1,047.84.

For details of the consultation and on how to take part click here.

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KCC has already demonstrated its determination to save costs and generate income in a number of ways.

• The Education and Young People’s directorate is looking at innovative ways of generating additional income of £1.9 million in 2017-18 through the creation of support packages for schools and academies in Kent and other council areas.

• In Adult Social Care, KCC has identified savings of £13.3 million through transformation, although the increase in demand for, and costs of care services, will mean the extra costs will outweigh even those savings.

• KCC also anticipates saving about £2million from its home-to-school transport budget for special education needs pupils through smarter route organisation and intelligent procurement..

• The £40million project to convert all KCC’s 118,000 streetlights to LED technology will deliver in excess £5.2 million in savings on energy bills annually, once complete (as well as reducing KCC’s carbon footprint).

• Although the cost of waste disposal per tonne continues to increase, the cost of recycling and handling waste in Kent is lower than four years ago as the county has reduced its landfill waste from 19% in 2013 to below 2%, which is well ahead of the national target of 5% by 2020.

Statistics contained in KCC’s annual report, which is also released today, show that services funded by the county’s council tax income include:

• Supporting 5,506 people with nursing and residential care that best meets their needs;
• 7,828 people receiving a homecare support service to enable them to stay in their homes;
• Providing a social care service for 35,440 adults last year;
• 85 children’s centres, working with 65,000 youngsters;
• About 2,300 children in care, including more than 800 young unaccompanied asylum seekers;
• 24,300 young person’s travel passes;
• Supporting 5,000 adults with substance misuse issues;
• 70 community wardens;
• 5.6million visits to libraries;
• more than 5,200 miles of public roads;
• 9 country parks, attracting 1.6million visits;
• 7,828 people receiving homecare support service; and
• 16.9million free bus journeys for the elderly and disabled.

Still time to have your say on KCC budget consultation was last modified: November 16th, 2016 by Thom Morris