Grantham Journal column: Services that keep you safe are our priority
Services that keep residents safe – as well as road maintenance and improvements – have been given priority in Lincolnshire County Council’s budget.
Despite further big falls in our Government funding, we’ve again succeeded in protecting those services that you say are the most important.
They include adult and child safeguarding, roads, flood risk management, stronger communities, and fire and rescue.
An extra £9m is also being ploughed into Lincolnshire roads, bringing the total investment to around £50m in 2018/19.
Our funding has been falling for several years, while demand for services like adult and children’s social care is increasing all the time.
Against that background, it’s been a real challenge to balance the books, but we’ve set a prudent budget to meet the county’s current and future needs.
In all, the council will spend £455m on services for Lincolnshire’s 736,000 residents in the 12 months from April.
To help pay for them, we’ve found savings of £34m over the next two years – on top of the £290m already achieved since 2011.
We’re also increasing our share of the council tax by 2.95 per cent, plus the two per cent precept for adult care, giving a total rise of 4.95 per cent.
That will mean an extra £1.12 per week for an average Band D property, or 74p for Lincolnshire’s many Band A households.
Even with this rise, we’re still expected to have the third lowest council tax rise of all 27 English shire counties.
Over the last seven years, our council tax has gone up by about 10 per cent, while general inflation has been 21 per cent, meaning our charge has fallen in real terms.
To help balance the books, the council is using £36m of reserves over the next two years, while we continue our campaign for fairer long-term funding for Lincolnshire.
A total of £323m – much of it from outside grants and contributions – will also be invested in major capital projects.
They include the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, the Grantham Southern Relief Road, and the continued roll-out of superfast broadband.
If you would like more details, please visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/budget and follow the link for Lincolnshire County Council Budget 2018/19.
Here you will find a short video explaining the key points of the budget as well as the full text of my budget speech to councillors and Lincolnshire County Council’s 2018/19 budget book.