Posted on Wednesday 27th October 2021
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, wants funding from Government agreed for several years to allow longer term planning.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, has given a cautious welcome to the Chancellor’s Budget.
As well as praising specific announcements, the Leader welcomed the Chancellor’s move to tell government departments their budget allocations for the next three years – and called for the same treatment for local authorities.
This year the County Council has a net annual budget of £530 million, spending two-thirds on the provision of social care.
Alan White said:
I spoke to the Chancellor recently and stressed that rather than being told our budget year-to-year, we wanted clarity over several years for our finances so we can draw up long term plans for highways and climate change, plan preventative work around good physical and mental health, and continue to invest in our schools and economy.
I hope that having done that today with Government departments, Staffordshire will be given the same opportunity.
I also welcome his announcement of an increase in funding for each pupil in the county, more money for family hubs which we are already expanding in Staffordshire and the continuation of the Holiday Activities Fund to support families during school holidays, as well green technology tax incentives for companies and the huge support for our brewing industry.
Of course, we must assess the detail of how the Budget affects us and the implications on Council Tax: this authority faces pressures from increases in wages – particularly in the care sector - and National Insurance contributions and from rising numbers of vulnerable adults, and families with young children, needing our support.
The Government’s planned increase in National Insurance is intended to support social care, but in the short term is being used for the NHS, so for the time being we will have to carry on funding such care from Council Tax.
At the same time, we are determined to maintain our ambitions for Staffordshire’s future by investing in education and the physical and digital infrastructure this county needs to continue attracting and developing well-paid jobs on our doorstep.”