Staffordshire County Council is planning a budget for the next financial year that helps protect the incomes of local people and continues to make the creation of new jobs a top priority.
Staffordshire’s “budget for families and jobs”, published yesterday, Tuesday 228 January, ahead of next week’s Cabinet meeting, shows how the council is investing in important areas for the county despite the cuts in public spending nationally. It also demonstrates the council’s aim to reduce where it can its share of council tax bills over time.
The proposals will be considered by councillors next week as part of a debate on the council’s Strategic Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy. The strategies outline the county council’s plans for the year and how it will pay for its work – and recommend the new levels of council tax for 2013-14. Recommendations go to the Full Council on 15 February for a final decision.
It is proposed that the county council share of the tax bill for a typical Band D property will be £1,027.25, a real terms reduction over the last four years once inflation and the county council’s tax freezes are taken into account.
The proposals reflect input and ideas from local residents, businesses and trade unions. Business people have welcomed the council’s priority on improving economic prosperity locally – and schemes such as providing loans for small business.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member education, finance and transformation for Ian Parry said, “This is a good and balanced budget for families and jobs.
“It reflects what local people and business have told we are the most important things for them: more money in their pockets, supporting business to create jobs and helping those individuals in most need of support.
“We have worked extremely hard to keep council tax as low as possible. Maintaining a well-run council enables us to focus on the top priorities, cut waste and not to burden the taxpayer with any increases. We have achieved efficiencies through transforming how Staffordshire County Council operates, not by cutting services.
“We have shown innovation in how we work; from setting up a joint business venture to deliver education support services to making careful investments to bring jobs and economic growth to Staffordshire.
“Challenging times undoubtedly lie ahead and the county council faces the same pressures as other local authorities nationally. We have received less money directly from the Government, as we thought, and expect further reductions in the future.
“However there are opportunities; for example business rate retention, where councils can retain and invest rates where they demonstrate an ability to bring in business and inward investment. This is an area where we have already made great strides.”