County council sets its budget

WARWICKSHIRE County Council has approved a budget for the coming financial year, setting out plans to save £92million over the next four years.

The council also approved a 1.99 per cent increase in its portion of the council tax precept, the first for the county council in four years.

The council tax rise equates to 44p per week for Band D properties, which are considered to be average for the area.

Cuts were laid out in all areas of the council’s spending to accommodate the savings, which it wishes to make by 2018.

Leader of the council, Councillor Izzi Seccombe said: “As everyone is aware the public sector has had to find an unprecedented level of savings and will continue to do so.

We are just coming to the end of a financial plan which has seen the council save £70m over the past three years and we are now facing an even bigger challenge.

Figures highlighted in the budget include £38million being included in the Capital Growth Fund, which has already benefited business in Alcester, £505,000 to go from the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service budget through modernisation and collaboration with other services in the region, and £17.9million being saved in adult social care services over four years.

Councillor Jerry Roodhouse, Liberal Democrat group leader, added: “We entered the negotiations with the Conservatives with some very clear ‘red line’ issues on the table, and were pleased that we were able to achieve over 90 per cent of our proposals.

“In particular, we have protected school crossing patrols, secured a major new investment of £2.5million in safer routes to school and School Safety Zones, and ensured that there will be no further library closures.

"We’ve removed any further cuts to children’s centre budgets for at least three years, and also removed a planned first year cut in the Supporting People programme. We’ve won a £1million investment in energy efficient LED street lighting to accelerate the replacement programme. We've achieved greater ongoing capacity for the voluntary sector, and a £50,000 cut in members' expenses and catering costs."

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