Monday, January 21, 2008

72p a week

Just 72 pence a week for a Band D property. That's the extent of KCC's below inflation council tax increase for the coming year. I joined Paul Carter and the rest of my Cabinet colleagues today in the Cabinet Room at County Hall to present this year's budget proposals to radio, TV and the press.

With the exception of schools, we needed around £33m just to stand still - the Government gave us £9.2m. Admittedly this was more than they had given us for years, but it still meant we had to find huge efficiency savings and raise the amount of income we get from providing goods and services to other councils up and down the country.

At the same time, we're increasing education, vocational and training opportunities, increasing the road and pavement repairs, engaging in our biggest programme for school, museum and library refurbishment and building, and keeping social care criteria at 'moderate' enabling us to complete a massive programme of preventative work for elderly and vulnerable residents.

We have suggested a 3.9% increase in council tax, and as long as the Labour Government settle up and pay their debt for unaccompanied asylum seeker children. If not, we'll have to think again.

We'll need at least an extra £61m next year to keep pace with the growing pressures across Kent, yet once again the Government has offered us £9m.

Time will tell whether we can find another £52m...

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