|[12 FEB 99]
WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL PRESS RELEASE
Warwickshires' Budget Proposals
A budget for Our County, a budget for the future
Putting the people of Warwickshire first.
Budget Proposals 1999/2000
This budget puts an extra £23.4 million into essential front-line services for
Warwickshire people, and for less than £1 per week for the average household.
This budget is an investment in:
- Educating our children an extra £11.06 million
- Services for elderly people, people with disabilities and vulnerable children at risk
an extra £5.11 million
- Better roads, better transport, better waste management, and a better environment
an extra £1,55 million
- Social and economic regeneration an extra £0.43 million
- Our library and heritage services an extra £1.33 million
- Our fire and rescue service an extra £1.95 million
For more than a decade we have been struggling to keep our high quality services going
with very little in the way of new resources we now have the opportunity to re-base
our service budgets and provide stability and security for the future of those services.
We have used the newly restored freedom to decide our own spending levels to remedy (on a
once and for all basis) the last Governments legacy of neglect. It is a
responsibility we take seriously and we will not shirk that responsibility.
More specifically the budget increase will mean:
- Putting an extra £9 million into school budget
- Better support for children with special educational needs
For social services:
- Helping more elderly people stay in their own homes by improving care and support
- Providing better support for those children who are at risk
For maintaining roads and improving transport:
- A restoration of the winter gritting programme
- Better street lighting
- Improved road maintenance and transport
For jobs and regeneration:
- Support for the new deal welfare to work programme
For libraries and heritage:
- Longer opening hours for libraries
- High quality new facilities and resources
For the fire and rescue services:
- A resolution of long standing problems enabling the current high quality service to
There are similar improvements in all of our service areas and more details are
available in the accompanying background briefing paper.
- The budget has been prepared following a lengthy and very valuable consultation exercise
on our draft County plan Our County 1998 2001 designed to
ensure that our priorities are the peoples priorities.
- We will use this opportunity to make Warwickshire a safer place for our children, our
road users, the vulnerable and the elderly.
- We will ensure that the new money is used wisely to guarantee real improvements in the
quality and accessibility of our services.
We have been able to make improvements because:
- We have had the best financial settlement from government within recent memory
- We are keeping the pressure on for more savings from good management
- Our prudent financial management means we can still dip into our meagre reserves to meet
- Because we believe that Warwickshire Council Tax payers will be prepared to pay little
more for the significant improvements in services we will be making.
These improvements will build on our considerable success to date which has seen
Warwickshire win a number of prestigious national awards for best value and service
The final Council Tax level will vary between District/Borough council areas,
reflecting different precepts from District/Borough councils, the Police Authority and in
some cases parish councils. However we expect this budget to lead to an increase of 7.8%
in the County Council element of the Council Tax.
The New Council Tax Figures:
For several months we have been consulting widely with the
people of Warwickshire and with partner agencies on the issues facing our county and
priorities for the future. The result of this extensive and very detailed consultation is
Our County 1998 2001 (which is to be launched in its final form on 11
February). We wish to thank all those who have helped us shape this important document.
We have also been working on the Governments
priorities and the challenges of the modernisation agenda. These two important
developments and the realisation that Warwickshire services have been starved of resources
for a decade because of the debacle of the Poll Tax and the ruinous capping
regime that followed it, form the foundation of our proposals for what we believe is a
We have not been able to address all the issues but we have
sought to strike a balance between what we think is a realistic increase in Council Tax
and the level of service improvement that we believe is essential. No doubt other views
with a slightly different balance -a bit more on this service, a bit less on that, a
slightly different Council Tax level will emerge and we will be happy to consider
these suggestions, wherever they may come from, provided they reflect the principles
enshrined in Our County 1998 2001 and address the modernisation agenda.
If we fail to reflect these two imperatives in the final budget then we will have been
wasting everyones time since we started the consultation process last Autumn, and
will fail to modernise in the ways which we feel, as a Best Value Pilot Authority, are
This is the first year of the new arrangements for dealing
with the Councils Budget. The new three year budget cycle introduced by
Gordon Brown has led us to review our procedures.
It is also the first year where Councils have been freed
from the constraints of automatic capping of expenditure.
The budget this year will come in two sections:
- On February 23 we will agree the budget for 1999/2000.
- In July we will agree an outline budget for 2000/2001 and