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
I think all council tax should increase by £25 per month across the board. We need the services that KCC provide in all its forms so we should pay for it. We had enough of austerity and spending cut under useless Cameron / Osborn and May.
A county council budget stretched to beyond repair and the county councillors just voted for expenses rise during this epidemic when people are losing jobs and are out of work when they also know the county council cannot afford it… then when this newspaper ran the article about it, the electorate was furious.
Not surprisingly sleepy Barry Lewis made his statement about the rise when he was called out for accepting the rise. He changed his mind, and said that he’ll donate the hard-working taxpayer’s money to charity instead of “pocketing the rise”.
Unbelievable. This shows how out of touch the county council and county councillors are with the electorate.
Well done to Karen Constantine for flat out refusing the rise.
Scrap the white elephant Thanet parkway railway station costing £37 million scheme
How about stop giving rises to county councilors for them to then donate taxpayers money to charity?
Let’s start at that. You’re so out of touch, it’s probably about time that you resign before you’re voted out at the next election.
Scrapping Thanet Parkway would be a good start.
Council should buy Amazon stonks… 2 weeks later council budget doubled. Free new wheelie bin for every household.
Barry Lewis. The parkway way station is needed for the Airport. The mentality of these people who’s own ego makes them think they are “needed” in public office so they put themselves up as Councillors supposedly representing the people yet any opportunity of jobs like Manston airport or anything else that might improve the area they will moan and moan and talk it down. All they want is THANET to remain a depressing area where nothing gets done Karen Constantine wants her supporters to be jobless and live in poverty’ so she can play the local hero and campaign for more food banks. She bangs on about environmental issues yet conveniently overlooks those who are living on benefits with no jobs and debts piling up is one of the worst environments to live in looking at four walls day in day out.
If some think that if KCC staff all take a pay cut it will help us recover from the pandemic they had better think again.
Okay, I’ll bite… Ann, I wouldn’t bother debating with Marva, she’s the most left-wing hardcore Labour supporter that I’ve ever known.
She doesn’t understand that Manston Airport was here long before her. If she doesn’t like that fact, then she’s more then capable of moving. The Airport has more right to be here and function.
Box. Please explain why you think I am a “hard-core left-wing” person. Thank you.
I do know that there was an airprot at Manston for several years. I don’t see why an airport can have more right to be here than me,
Tory boy the box, your logic is flawed, do you support your conservative councillors who took the 4per cent rise or not.? I have not personally taken any pay rise in my 3 years as a county councillor while most councillors have had a 20 percent pay rise.4 per cent i did not take while the other 16 per cent i will continue to give local good causes and charities.
Typical leftie snowflake, talking out of his @rse.
You happily accepted the entire rise, and then when this newspaper ran the article, you were called out for accepting the rise because the electorate was rightly furious. Then because of the backlash you received, you released a statement saying you were now giving the additional rise to charity. That’s the fact.
What makes you think that you have the right to give hard-working taxpayers money to charity? I don’t pay council tax for you then to give it to charity. If you don’t accept the fact, then my point about you and other councillors (Labour or Tory) being so out of touch with the electorate is proven.
I can’t wait for next year. We can finally get rid of people like you that have been rinsing the council for many years and are no longer fit to hold the role of county councillor. You’re beyond your prime, and you need to go. That’s fact.
Why shouldn’t a councillor give money to charity? Once he’s accepted it he can do what he likes with it. There seems little point in giving it back to the council considering the sort of things they seem to want to waste it on.
I hope you’re joking, Marva? I’m not sure that I can take you seriously, I have a big suspicion that you’re Barry, posting under another account.
Your suspicion (11.52 am)re Barry Lewis is wrong.
“Why shouldn’t a councillor give money to charity? Once he’s accepted it he can do what he likes with it.”
Sums up your stance and Barrys, and is precisely why Labour did so poor in this Area, almost being wiped out in the GE, no doubt including next year as well.
Your theory about donating Thanet folks hard-working council tax to big corporation charity business or local charity (however you wish to name it and sweeten it) is the biggest joke I’ve ever heard. Many folks don’t work over 40 hours a week on minimum wage, for sleepy Barry Lewis and others to then donate part of their council tax payment to charity. I can’t believe you even think like that.
Why do you call Barry Lewis “sleepy”, Box?
An insult after you just gave yourselves a pay increase costing over 2 million. Soap your pay increase get rid of dead wood in your council, stop wasting money with disorganisation and office waste.
You can’t even collect my food waste which recycling means more money.
If you can’t do the job moved out of the way. Anybody can say stop this and put this up as no brains are required for that.
Parkway Station is capital spend and not revenue. It will make no difference over the short term.
KCC don’t exist in a parallel universe to other businesses. If their income is slashed they lay off staff and cut wages and terms and conditions for those who remain.
How much per year are the staff’s pension contributions costing the taxpayer?
Maybe kcC could save a mint via consideration of getting more production from their ft employed staff.
Ban working from home,immediately.
Unless their homeworkers are doing covert-overt sting assignments etc (while in pubs,restaurants,shopping,h&s etc)
kcC could be run as a business but thats a big ask !
its all fixable but why blame covid19,council financial cuts are not new news. Plenty of other councils dealing with the reduction of gov funding and not asserting covid19 as blame.
funny old world here.
KCC has an income of £2.34Bn. £800m is distributed to schools according to DFE requirements.£400m is adult social care.£278m Children’s social care.£148m highways.£9m Libraries.£7.7m is spent on Governance and democracy, but wait on, most of that is staff costs in making sure that the Council is accountable to you lot. Who do you think answers all those FOI questions etc? Cllr allowances are a tiny part of that expenditure.
So lambasting Cllrs you don’t agree with may make you feel good, but it doesn’t really resolve the problem.
That’s the problem with many here; the big budget items are underfunded, cutting the smaller items beyond the bone won’t make much of a difference and shouting the odds over tiny issues is just so much hot air.
Face facts. We the people through the Govt we elected, have grossly underfunded all Councils and its not just KCC in trouble. The problem is wide spread and we may see some s114 declarations. Why do you think so many Councils are lining up to go Unitary?
Sticking your head in the sand or somewhere even less pleasant is no answer.
As for the Council ought to be run like a business, well it is, with every service company having a finger in the pie. Who do you think mends the roads, not KCC staff, they are contractors. Who burns the waste, runs landfill sites and recycling centres, yes, private businesses. By the way your bins are collected by TDC and the waste is processed by KCC for your information and TDC are also short of money.
As for capital versus revenue, is quite true that Parkway is a capital spend, but where do you think the money comes from to sustain that capital expenditure comes from? Yes, from the very same revenue stream!
If you are going to debate an issue at least find out what the facts are, before giving us the benefit of your wide understanding of local govt finance.
100% agree with George Nokes. Banging on about councillor’s expenses completely misses the point. It’s peanuts compared to the overall amounts involved in running KCC.
Local authorities have been deprived of cash for years. There are just no “brownie points” for governments in announcing more money for local Councils. They prefer to announce big ,visible projects like 40 new hospitals or lorry parks or High Speed trains heading north.
So loads of local councils of all political persuasions are struggling to cope . We don’t help by sniping at one Party or the other when they are all tearing their hair out at a government that told them “whatever it takes” to deal with Covid, but now announces the costs will fall on the council after all. The only Party difference is that Labour complain about it whereas the Tories are reduced to trying to have a quiet word with a minister(no chance!) or asking the public to decide which part of their services get cut. Then it becomes your fault!
KCC Cllr. Barry Lewis is anything but ‘sleepy’, being hands down the most proactive, tenacious & socially aware councillor currently serving the community – whether it’s facilitating & coordinating the Summer Kitchen with Sharon Goodyer, helping feed the district’s most vulnerable, supporting the community decision to make Athelstan Road a safer street to live on, after two children were hospitalised with hip & shoulder injuries, after being hit by vehicles on the road, through succeeding in getting cross-party agreement on 20mph policy change at KCC, or calling out little known facts like Kent having no dedicated *drug squad*, despite being targeted by national criminal gangs, capitalising on the policing shortfall. A good man & a good politician, who definitely deserves better than being foul mouthed for taking principled stands, where others pocket what the6 can & turn a blind eye to social injustice. Totally gets my vote every time!