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12 November 2020

Cumbria continues to deliver services and meet financial challenge despite tough year

Cumbria County Council has continued to deliver services, whilst making savings despite a very challenging year.

During 2020 the impact of COVID-19 has been significant on everyone and it has placed additional pressure on the council’s budget and on its finite resources. Despite this additional pressure the council has remained focused on protecting the most vulnerable and on supporting Cumbria’s communities.

Funding for the council remains an unknown as the government has taken the unusual, and unprecedented step, in announcing that it will not set an Autumn 2020 budget. There will be a one-year Spending Review for 2021/22 which will be published on 25 November - which means that Cumbria, alongside all other councils, will be unclear about any future financial settlement and this makes forward planning very difficult. With no budget announcement from government we project the assumption that Cumbria County Council will have an additional £17 million of savings to find in the coming year to achieve a balanced budget.

Pressures on Council services continue to increase and costs continue to rise. One key decision facing the council is whether or not to increase council tax in the coming year.

After very careful consideration and given the uncertainty of future funding Cumbria County Council is now seeking resident’s views on a proposal to increase the county council’s share of council tax by 1.99% for next year.

Cllr Peter Thornton, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council said:

“Cumbria County Council has a strong track record in protecting frontline services while making savings. The proposal to increase council tax by 1.99% is a difficult one to make but this increase will raise £5million to invest into essential council services and it will help us deliver the legal requirement of a balanced budget. We have worked hard to keep this proposed increase as low as is possible and it is just £2.39 a month on a Band D property. The money it generates will help us to provide essential services to those who need us most."

The consultation document is now available at cumbria.gov.uk/budgetconsultation and will run until Monday 4 January 2021.

Feedback from the public consultation will be considered by Cabinet and then go to Full Council with recommendations in February 2021 alongside the Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2021-2026. 

Cumbria County Council has continued to deliver services, whilst making savings despite a very challenging year.