Cheshire East Council agrees four-year financial plan
27 February 2023
Cheshire East Council has agreed its four-year financial plan, setting out how the council will fund its ambitions and priorities over the coming years. This includes areas for investment and growth as well as changes to save money and increase income, including council tax.
This year, development of a balanced budget and four-year financial plan has been made more difficult in the face of significant national funding and cost pressures. This has included unprecedented inflation alongside increased complexity and demand for services. Rates of inflation have exceeded ten per cent, adding £33 million to the council’s annual costs to deliver local services. The council has agreed a 4.99 per cent increase in council tax, which will generate around £13 million of additional income, leaving around £20 million of further savings to be found.
Each of the council’s service committees considered the budget proposals at public meetings prior to the council decision. The council also asked residents, staff and other stakeholders for their views in a public consultation earlier this year. This led to changes to a number of proposals, which were then agreed as part of the medium-term financial strategy (MTFS) at a full council meeting on 22 February 2023.
The council will now begin a process of ongoing engagement and consultation which will see it work with the community and partner organisations as it aims to achieve its corporate plan within the agreed budget.
Councillor Amanda Stott, chair of Cheshire East Council’s finance sub-committee, said: “It is not easy to set a four-year balanced budget that aligns to a council’s corporate plan, especially in the context of unprecedented local, national and international economic pressures.
“However, now that our budget is agreed, we will work hard to implement the agreed changes, consulting and engaging further on a number of the proposals in the plan. We will also continue to look for ways to make savings across the council throughout the year.”
Deputy leader of the council, Councillor Craig Browne, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this budget setting process.
“This year, we had the largest public response to our budget consultation that the council has seen. I think that this reflects how important the services we deliver are to our residents and the particular difficulty of these decisions this year due to factors outside the council’s control, such as increased service demand and rising inflation.”
Leader of the council, Councillor Sam Corcoran, said, “As a council we are continuing to lobby national government alongside the County Councils Network and Local Government Association, to save local services and better address local authority funding in the longer-term.
“We understand that a council tax rise of 4.99 per cent from April, during a cost-of-living crisis, is going to be difficult for many people. Cheshire East Council has continued with its commitment to council tax support for those who need it.
“Anyone who is concerned about their council tax payments is advised to visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/CouncilTaxSupport where information about eligibility for schemes and help and support is available.”