Council agree extra investment in children’s services

PLANS to grow the economy, invest extra money in children’s services and play its part in tackling climate change, while still balancing the books, have been approved at a meeting of Staffordshire County Council’s Full Council

Leader Philip Atkins said despite the huge pressures of spending a record £320m on the care of increasing numbers of vulnerable adults and children in Staffordshire, the county council remained hugely ambitious for the county and for the people who live and work in Staffordshire.

Coun Atkins said: “Sixty-five per cent of our budget is now spent on caring for the frail elderly and vulnerable children, but we have acted swiftly to manage these challenges and will continue to do so.

“Taking this proactive approach has allowed us to be in a strong position today to invest in bringing wider benefits to Staffordshire families by growing the economy, creating better jobs and helping more people lead healthier, independent and more rewarding lives.

“We remain committed to focusing on these key areas and our call now is for the Government to back the ambitions of well-run councils like Staffordshire by securing a long-term national solution for funding areas such as care, special education needs and roads.”

In 2020/21 the county council’s budget will see: 

  • A record £320m spent on care for children and adults
  • An extra £8.1m invested in helping to keep more children out of care
  • Investment of £650,000 in climate change and sustainability projects
  • More than £120m expected to be spent on capital projects, such as schools and business sites
  • Joined-up working with the NHS to offer an affordable approach to health and care

To help achieve this, county council tax will increase by 3.99 percent, which includes the Government’s 2 percent levy towards funding the care bill. This is less than £1 per week more on the average bill for a Band D Property and will still be one of the lowest in the country.

It will also continue to implement plans to make the council even more efficient by reducing the council’s own running costs by £62m by 2024.

The council’s budget for 2020/21, its Medium Term Financial Strategy and its strategic plan, which sets out the council’s key priorities, were approved at Full Council following a named voted, with 45 votes “for” the motion and nine abstentions.