More money to support elderly and vulnerable people, more money for children in need, and more money to tackle the climate emergency have all been confirmed as Somerset County Council sets out its spending plan for the next financial year.
The budget for 2021/22, which received cross-party support today at Full Council, also includes a commitment to continue the extended Free School Meals provision for vulnerable families over the Easter holidays.
The meeting started with a minute’s silence in respect to all Somerset residents who have sadly lost their lives to coronavirus.
Council Leader David Fothergill then paid tribute to all the SCC staff who have gone above and beyond this year as the Council led Somerset’s response to the pandemic.
He also highlighted what has been achieved through partnership working this year – with all Somerset councils working together with the NHS to roll out the vaccination programme and working alongside voluntary organisations to provide a single helpline and ensure support was available to anyone in need.
For 2021/22, it was confirmed an additional £10.2m will be invested in adult social care services, £9m to continue improvements in children’s services, £6.5m on climate emergency projects, and £130m invested in major infrastructure schemes such as roads and schools with £74m of new projects approved.
A new £10.8m Emergency Fund has been established for activities to combat coronavirus and its impacts. This in acknowledgement of the continued economic uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
There will be reduced spending in back office services, while SCC’s share of council tax will increase by 1.99% with a further 3% adult social care precept.
Cllr Fothergill said: “During this time of crisis nationally, a time of financial stress for many councils, it is just so positive to be able to put forward a progressive budget that invests in our adults and children’s services, invests in climate change and infrastructure, invests in our residents, businesses, and communities, and above all, invests in providing more support for more families.”
The Council papers can be found on the Somerset County Council website.