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Cambridgeshire County Council plugs £37.4million funding gap

Cambridgeshire County Council has balanced its budget by closing a funding gap of £37.4million at a full council meeting on Tuesday (13 February).

Councillors agreed to a council tax rise of 4.99 per cent – raising £17.5m of local income to help maintain and protect critical services. For residents in Band A-D properties that will mean between an extra 99p to £1.48 a week. The local authority – run by a Lib Dem, Labour and Independent coalition – now funds 75 per cent of its net spending from council tax.

(Left to right) Cllr Elisa Meschini, Cllr Tom Sanderson and Cllr Lucy Nethsingha.
(Left to right) Cllr Elisa Meschini, Cllr Tom Sanderson and Cllr Lucy Nethsingha.

The council said its budget prioritised sustaining critical adults and children’s social care (£57m), improving roads and pavements (£23m), and support for vulnerable communities, with £3m to continue providing holiday supermarket vouchers for those children most in need and £2.2m to deliver anti-poverty initiatives.

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Lib Dem leader of the council, said they were delivering “a balanced council budget for 2024/25, no mean feat after more than 10 years of national underfunding”.

She added: “This has been a difficult budget setting process, driven by significant cost increases, such as inflation. We’ve also invested £4.8m of additional one-off social care funding into support for children’s social care, children with special educational needs and disabilities, home to school transport and adults mental health. It is frustrating that the additional money came in so late. But this one-year funding doesn’t address the longer term need for a fair funding settlement in Cambridgeshire.”

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