Council agrees £483m budget for coming year
By Rob Freeman | 23rd February 2021
Gloucestershire County Council has approved a budget of £483million for the next year - up £14.8million on the previous 12 months.
The 2021/22 budget includes an additional £8.9million for adults and £7.3million for vulnerable children with capital investment in children's services, highways and tackling the climate emergency.
Among the items in the budget, which includes the council's response to the coronavirus pandemic, are:
- £1million to make new school buildings carbon neutral
- £9.2million to complete a new special school
- £15million towards a £30million secondary school in Cheltenham
- £11million for a new primary school in Bishop's Cleeve
- A further £4.9million towards delivery of the Gloucester South West Bypass
- £3million towards the £9.5million Cheltenham to Gloucester cycle route
- £11.3million towards M5 J10
- £2.7million investment in new and improved life-saving equipment for Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service
- £1.8million to ensure delivering Broadband across the county
Council leader Councillor Mark Hawthorne said: "As we all continue our work to defeat coronavirus, the council must also keep an eye on the future.
"This budget invests in Gloucestershire's future with more support for children and young people, investment to deliver our zero carbon commitments and infrastructure to support future homes and jobs.
"I am proud we are doing that while delivering one of the lowest Council Tax levels of any county council in England."
The council, which has identified £6.8million in savings, will raise around £7million through a 1.99 per cent increase in Council Tax with the national social care precept (2.76 per cent) raising an additional £8.75million.
The changes result in about a £5 monthly increase for the average Band D taxpayer.
Councillor Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: "The Liberal Democrat amendments that were unanimously supported across the council have significantly improved this budget.
"Whether that's more money for local highways and road safety measures, targeted funding to make sure every child reaches their full potential, or additional cash to help communities recover from the effects of Covid, these changes will make a real difference to people's lives."
Approved amendments to the budget include:
- £100,000 for 20mph speed zones
- £67,000 for barriers to mobility report actions reserve
- £100,000 for School Street pilot extension for remaining districts
- £33,000 to fund the cancellation of planned increases to parking permit costs
- £100,000 to fund a pilot to support children at risk of exclusion
- £100,000 preparation for school/early years fund
- £265,000 to support community Covid recovery (£5k per councillor)
- £50,000 for food projects
- £530,000 for local highways
- £100,000 for apprenticeships
- £60,000 to fund Nuclear South West
Councillor Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour Group, said: "Naturally I'd have liked more of our group's proposals to have been adopted, but I am pleased to see recognition of the continued need to support food projects and the inclusion of funding for individual councillors to spend on Covid recovery projects in their own divisions."
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