Budget 2020/21

Find out more about our budget setting process for 2020/21


Budget 2020/21

Our budget challenge

Our budget challenge

West Sussex County Council, like many other local authorities across the country, continues to face unprecedented financial pressures mainly due to:

• Increasing demand on social care services
• Significant reduction in government funding
• Uncertainty around future funding.

We have made almost £240m of savings since 2010 and in the same period our funding has been cut by more than £155m by Government. But we still have a budget gap of £45m (after assumed council tax rises) to close over the next four years.

The national picture

The national picture

West Sussex County Council faces uncertainty over the level of funding it will receive in the future.

Central Government is carrying out a review of the total amount of funding provided to local government and throughout government as part of this year’s spending review and is also looking to reform how it allocates this funding.

The Government has committed to initiate cross party talks to seek a long term reform of adult social care as one of its priorities. However, given the repeated delays to the Social Care Green Paper, it is unclear when this key piece of work will be complete and ready for implementation. West Sussex County Council is working with local MPs to press Government to ensure we get adequate and sustainable social care funding for our residents.

Analysis of local government finance shows the funding gap for all councils stands at £4.8 billion in the current financial year. This rises significantly to £9.3 billion in 2022/23 and £12.4 billion in 2024/25. As you can see, the financial picture for local authorities is stark.

The local picture

The local picture

To date we have been able to achieve our savings targets largely by changing the way we do things, making us more efficient and freeing up money to protect front line services.

However, the demand for social care services is increasing in West Sussex, the number of elderly residents is increasing faster than in most other areas of the country and we have more children who we need to look after and keep safe. For example, the number of West Sussex children with special educational needs rose from 3,898 in 2016 to 5,297 in 2019.

We cannot assume any further funding from Government in future years beyond that already announced and given the scale of spending pressures facing us, we can no longer balance our budget through efficiency savings alone.

This leaves us, along with more than 99% of social care authorities, with the unavoidable option of having to rely on raising more revenue from council tax as a key funding stream, which we know passes financial pressure on to you, our residents.

While we have received more funding for next year, we have to deal with significantly more demand on our vital services. Regrettably, to balance our budget, we have to make some cuts to services that we know you, our residents, value.

Next steps

Next steps

The budget was approved at the Full Council meeting held at County Hall, Chichester, on Friday 14 February.

This means council tax will rise by 1.99% - plus an additional 2% for adult social care – making a total increase of 3.99%.

This puts the County Council element of an average band D council tax bill at £1,438.74 – or just under £4 per day.

This is an increase of £55.17 per year or £1.06 per week compared to last year’s bill.

Details of a £712m five-year ‘capital programme’ investment plan were also confirmed. This included almost £200m for road schemes over the next five years, as well as £45.2m to produce renewable energy and generate income through solar farms and battery energy storage schemes.

You can read more our press release.

 

 

Further information

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