EXTRA money to care for the elderly and vulnerable together with investment in children’s social care are among the key elements of the new Warwickshire County Council budget approved this week.

A council tax increase of 3.75 per cent, 2 per cent, of which will be ring-fenced for adult social care – was also agreed along with £65m of savings over the next five years.

Outlining his plans at the full council meeting, deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance and property, Cllr Peter Butlin (Con, Admirals and Cawston) said: “The last two years have been difficult for us all – we have faced challenges and lived through circumstances that many of us would not believe possible. 

“Through the ups and downs and commitment of our officers and residents, we have been able to remain true to our ambition to make Warwickshire the best it can be, sustainable now and for future generations.

“The budget that I am recommending to you today will continue to ensure that Warwickshire’s finances are robust and sustainable.

“The growth in demand is being felt across all services we provide for the residents of Warwickshire but I just want to underline areas that underlie our commitment to the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Our budget will mean investing over £14m to meet the growing numbers of our elderly citizens and vulnerable adults who need our help and support and there will be more than £10m for our children’s social care services to meet the costs arising from increasing numbers of children and families needing our support.”

A Liberal Democrat proposal to increase county councillor grants by £2,000 to £8,000 each year to help boost local communities recover from Covid was accepted as a friendly amendment before Cllr Butlin outlined where the savings would be made.

He said: “Our budget proposals include the delivery of a further £65m of budget reductions over the next five years through better procurement, improvements in efficiency, increased income and delivery reductions on demand bringing the total reductions to over £150m.

“We all use the services the county council provides and understand the pressures our residents are under when dealing with increased energy costs and inflation. That is why, when we found out that the housing growth in Warwickshire was more than we thought, we were keen to use some of that additional money to reduce the increase in the council tax and I’m really pleased to be able to announce – without undermining our long-term sustainability – instead of the 4% increase we thought we would need, we have been able to reduce the increase to 3.75%.

“Both elements are below the maximum increase we could make and well below the current rate of inflation. It will be the equivalent of £1.10 per week for a band D swelling and this money will be used for the benefit of residents in Warwickshire.”