Cambridgeshire: Proposed Council Budget

Cambridgeshire County Council has released its proposed budget for 2013/14.

It includes up to 99 job cuts, a rise in council tax and a pay freeze for all council staff.

The budget will be considered at a meeting of the Cambridgeshire County Council cabinet next week.

Reduced government funding means the council must find around £32 million worth of savings during the next year.

The proposed rise in the Cambridgeshire County Council portion of council tax is 1.99%, equating to around £21 a year for the average band D property.

The proposed budget also includes plans for the County Council to act as a developer, allowing it to build and sell houses on land it owns.

The council is also looking into the possibility of building a new care home.

Residents will also be encouraged to access more services online to save money.

The budget also includes around £500 million worth of projects to improve the county's school buildings.

The proposals also include major transport projects such as improvements to Ely Crossing and a new train station at Cambridge Science Park.

There are also plans to improve broadband internet access across Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke, said: "This budget is based on the views of our residents and does what is best for Cambridgeshire. 

We are in the unique position of benefitting from tremendous growth to help create jobs and prosperity while having to fund the monumental pressures on our services that this brings. 

Encouraging growth brings better transport provision, business opportunities and jobs. But at the same time we have to fund the increased need for our care services so we can protect the most vulnerable.

Despite these tremendous pressures and the £32 million in savings we need to make we have been able to continue in funding major projects that we announced last year. 

We are currently and plan to invest £1 billion in providing better school facilities as well as funding transport measures and helping people keep their dignity and health. 

Cambridgeshire will benefit from better broadband which will boost the economy and help our communities to access services. 

We are slashing management costs in services and looking at reducing employment costs as well as being innovative in bringing forward plans to build a new care home and becoming a housing developer in our own right. 

But despite these savings the tremendous pressures put on the Council by growth and reduced Government funding means we must put up Council Tax or face a £37 million black-hole. 

Freezing Council Tax would inevitably lead to vital services that we have protected needing instead to be cut. 

Residents have told us to make savings but have also supported putting up Council Tax to help the vulnerable and keep Cambridgeshire moving. 

We are proposing to keep any rise below inflation.

These are very tough times for Councils but we will continue to do what is best for our communities."

The budget will be discussed at a meeting of the Cambridgeshire County Council cabinet on Tuesday 29 January.

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