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Budget plans set out

16 January 2017

Investment of more than £260 million of capital spend into roads, schools and special education needs are planned within the 2017/18 budget it has been announced.

The council also plans to take up the Government’s three per cent social care ‘levy’.

The levy, announced by Government following the Autumn Statement, will be added to council tax bills and directed specifically for social care. 

The Council will be making no other increase to Council Tax.

Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Finance at Essex County Council, said: “Any Council Tax rise, however small, cannot be taken lightly. However, as we continue to face a growing pressure in social care, we have little option but to use the levy to the extent we are allowed. 

“We have been very clear with Government that this is not a long term solution, but we need to ensure that our older and vulnerable residents receive the care they deserve.”

Announced as part of the 2017/18 budget plans, £524 million will be spent on social care, which represents 42 per cent of the entire budget excluding schools.

There will also be a capital investment programme of £263 million – the largest ever announced.

Cllr Spence added: “In setting our budget, we have looked to tackle the areas that matter to local people; protecting our vulnerable residents, looking after and improving our roads and investing in schools and education. 

“Despite the pressures on us, this year we are spending more on each of these areas than ever before - investing in our highways and transport services, developing independent living schemes, creating a further 2,500 new school places and a new Special Education Needs network, supporting special education needs across the county.”

The budget plans will be discussed at a meeting of Cabinet on 24 January before going to Full Council on 14 February.