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Four-year settlement sets out financial challenge ahead

20 September 2016

Essex County Council set to see an 84% reduction in Government support over the next four years.

Set out as part of the ‘Four Year Settlement’ provided by Government, the Council will see its support grant reduce from £118 million in 2016/17 to £18 million in 2019/20.

Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “The decision by Government to provide a four year settlement, rather than an annual announcement should be welcomed, as it allows us to plan for the future with certainty over the level of funding available to us.

“However, in setting out the four-year position, it does show the size of the financial challenge ahead and, of course, this 84% reduction comes on top of a 49% reduction already made over the last three years.”

Over the period of the settlement, it is expected that inflationary pressure on services will increase by 12%, while changes to demographics and increases in population will mean an additional £352 million of pressures by 2020.

Cllr Finch added: “Essex is a growing and ageing county, and we have spoken about the need to look at new and different ways of doing things.

“We have an excellent record in making savings, more than £520million has already been taken out of the council’s budget, and I am confident that we are well positioned to meet this challenge head on.

“But realistically in the years to come, the Council is going to look and feel very different - services will need to be provided in different ways, there will be more collaboration with partners, commercial and trading opportunities will be maximised and you will see some areas where communities are supported in delivering services for themselves rather than relying on the council.”