On behalf of Warrington, our Mayor Cllr Maureen Creaghan, sends sincere condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family, following the death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. Read the Mayor's full statement.
A Budget Fit for the Future
Keeping communities safe during coronavirus pandemic and planning for a strong recovery are the focus for our budget proposals for the next financial year.
Although the level of government funding next year has been confirmed, we still face a level of financial uncertainty as we manage rising demand for services whilst facing reduced income from areas such as parking and business rates, which have been affected by the pandemic. The Government has promised additional funding to support our response to COVID-19 but this is unlikely to be enough to fully compensate.
To help us maintain essential local services, the Cabinet’s budget proposals include a 1.98% rise in Council Tax. The Social Care Precept will be added to this and used to raise an additional 3% worth around £3.1m per year to help protect adult social care.
Due to cuts in government funding, and no funding to meet increasing demand for care services or inflation, the council has had to find £173m since 2010 – equivalent to 60p in every £1. And by 2022 we will have to save at least another £11.6million. At the same time, demand on services is growing as people live longer and the borough’s population continues to grow.
We want to prioritise services for vulnerable people, such as social care for children and adults, whilst also doing our best to maintain other services such as waste and recycling collection, street cleaning and roads maintenance.
What do we do for you and our communities?
We provide lots of services that people see, like emptying your bins, cutting grass, clearing litter and mending roads.
But we also provide a lot of services which many people don’t see and which require far more money than providing many of our common day-to-day services. For example, we:
look after vulnerable children who need our help
care for people with mental health issues or problems
support elderly people to stay as happy and independent at home as possible
help families with housing problems to prevent them becoming homeless
Looking after children and people who need care in their own home takes up around two thirds of our budget.
Council tax and our budget – the detail
One of the council’s most important responsibilities is to provide care and support to those adults and children who are vulnerable, to provide them with access to the best support and opportunities. Since 2015, an increasing share of the cost for social care has been transferred to our residents, and as demand continues to rise these vital services are taking an increasing share of our budget.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has also seen a dramatic increase in the number of families who need extra help and support. This continues to be a major priority for us and we continue to maintain the Council Tax Relief Scheme at its existing level.
By law, we are required to set a balanced budget at the start of every financial year (April to March). We also forecast an estimated budget position for each of the following three years. This approach means we can better plan for the future. We have shared our budget with local community and voluntary organisations, and residents and businesses.
The budget was considered at Cabinet on Monday 8 February. You can read the committee meeting papers on our democracy, elections and civic section.
We want to hear from you
Take part in our survey to let us know your thoughts about this year’s budget. Your feedback is really important as part of our work. We will be responding to the most common questions and themes on this page.
THIS SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED.
We look forward to hearing from you.
What is capital funding? What is revenue funding? And why is the difference important?
Our revenue budget, which we use to supply day-to-day services such as providing care and support to people or maintaining roads and parks, is the budget that has suffered huge cuts. We’re doing our best to reduce the impact of these cuts on the people that use our services.
We can also access another pot of funding called capital funding, but this can’t be spent on day-to-day services. We use capital to make investments which produce an income. The money left over, after the running costs have been taken out, can be added to revenue funding for day-to-day costs.
This helps to fund some of our services. This is like having a mortgage where we pay back low interest on these assets, but would also have the option to sell them to repay debt, if that was the best thing to do.
I’ve read that the council is in debt. What does this mean?
The money we receive from council tax is less than the cost of social care and children’s services. We need to make investments to raise other funds so that we can continue to provide important services, particularly to those who are vulnerable.
Our investments cost money which is where our debt figure appears, but we pay these costs off gradually and our investments are also generating income that we can use on day-to-day services.
Why is my council tax going up again?
This year more than any other we have had to make very tough decisions about our budget and council tax. We have seen lots of people access our services and as always, our priority is to make sure the most vulnerable people in our town have the best support and opportunities possible.
This year’s rise in council tax follows the majority of councils in the country. The pandemic has put even more pressure on our budgets and we have had no other choice but to raise council tax again this year.