Residents are being asked to give their views on an amended budget at Kent County Council as the authority faces a shortfall of between £40 million and £50 million.
The funding black hole is a result of costs incurred and lost income during the coronavirus pandemic
When the pandemic was declared, all councils were asked by the Government to take on additional spending to sustain a range of vital public services, with a commitment that extra funding would be provided to cover these costs and the loss of any income from the closure of facilities and services.
KCC’s share of this extra funding has so far been £67million, with a further tranche from another £500 million announced by the government on July 2which is likely to be around £10million. This is compared with a forecast for additional spending of £96.6million and loss of income of £21million for this financial year, leaving a shortfall of between £40-50million.
Although some services delivered by third parties could not be provided and some of the council’s own facilities had to close, including children’s centres, country parks, libraries, waste disposal and recycling facilities, the council has continued to pay contractual and staffing costs for these services.
KCC Deputy Leader Peter Oakford, who is also the Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Local government still does not have certainty in relation to its financial position as we emerge from the immediate impact of Covid-19, and that makes financial planning far more challenging than would usually be the case.
“However, we anticipate that we will have to cope with extra financial pressures to some degree.
“We are therefore launching this public consultation so that residents can outline their priorities and thereby help us formulate our plans for an amended budget, which the County Council will be considering at its meeting on 10 September.”
The four-week consultation, which is launched today (Monday, 13 July), is inviting residents’ views on spending priorities by visiting the website www.kent.gov.uk/budget and completing the online questionnaire. A short consultation document will be available on the website to assist with the responses.
Residents who are unable to take part online can request a hard copy of the questionnaire and consultation document from the Alternative Formats team via email to email@example.com or call 03000 421553. The completed questionnaire should be returned to: Budget Consultation 2020-21, Kent County Council, Finance – Room 3.08, Sessions House, Maidstone ME14 1XQ.
County council services
Services for children, young people and families
- 84 children’s centres and early years services
- Supporting 1,600 children in care, and 1,700 care leavers
- Emotional wellbeing and mental health services
- Health visiting and child health checks
- Fostering, adoption and 10,000+ social work cases
- KCC travel saver and home to school transport
- Working with 583 schools on places, planning and access
- Special educational needs and disability including transport
- Apprenticeships, skills and career pathways for young people
Services for all residents and communities
- Public health and wellbeing services
- Sports, arts, culture and heritage
- Highways, waste management and concessionary travel
- Active travel, public rights of way and country parks
- 99 libraries, mobile libraries and archives
- Community safety, emergency planning and trading standards
- Protecting the natural environment
- Registration and coroners’ services
- Economic development and strategic planning
Services for older and vulnerable people
- Support for 4,900 adults with learning disabilities
- 4,100 permanent residential care placements
- Respite, safeguarding and support for 152,000 carers
- Support for 3,200 social care clients with mental health needs
- Support for 1,200 older people in nursing care homes
- Partnership working between health and social care
- 7,000 people receiving care and support at home
- Support for 5,300 adults with physical disability and sensory needs
- 2,400 people using day care services in their community