We are approaching that time of year when it is time to set the budget and council tax levy. The Cabinet met on 6 th January and approved the draft budget for consultation. Full Council will debate and formally set the final budget at its meeting on 17 th February.
Marcus says, “It is further excellent news for all Wyre Forest residents as we continue to invest in services that are important to you. You tell us that we need to keep growing our, economy, tackle congestion, keep investing in roads and pavements whilst ensuring we protect our environment and look after our most vulnerable adults and children in society.”
In order to do this, general council tax is increasing by just .94% and the adult social care levy is increasing by 3%. This total of 3.94% will mean that your council tax on a Band D property will increase by £52.95 per annum, approximately just £1 per week.
We have had additional monies from central government this year to tackle pressures in adults and social care, a further £6 million in social care grant and a one off what is called a ‘services grant’ of £4.4 million, of which £1.4 million is to fund the new national insurance levy but this is still £3 million net. We are proposing spending an additional £12 million in both 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 on road resurfacing and a further £4 million in both 2022-2023 and 2024 on pavement resurfacing.
We have also created a pot of money, £500,000 in both 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 to fund small scale schemes such as creating new pelican and zebra crossings.
There will also be an uplift in the budget for Parish Lengths man who do great work in our rural areas.
There will be an additional £1 million for drainage including small schemes to support flood alleviation.
Each county councillor will be allocated £22,500 in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 to spend on capital local highways schemes.
We are also allocating an additional £1.1 million to extend for a further 2 years the Councillors Divisional Fund allocating each County Councillor £10,000 per annum to spend on projects and community organisations within their electoral division In terms of school funding whilst we still are one of the more poorly funded areas and the Government has not yet changed how the formula works nationally, the quantam of cash is at least going up nationally which translates into more money for Worcestershire pupils.
Under the parameters of the National Funding Formula which Worcestershire uses, there will be a minimum increase per pupil of 2%. The dedicated school grant has increased from £371 million in 2021-2022 to £383 million in 2022-2023 (this is for mainstream schools) and the Higher Needs Block (this is for special school funding and SEND) has increased from £68.5 million to £75.5 million which is a step in the right direction and real additional money coming into our schools.
Marcus added, “I believe that there is something in this budget for all of our community and I look forward to our debate at County Hall when the budget is decided.”