2023/24 budget consultation

The council is setting its budget for 2023/24 and has set out plans for £1,095.6m (just over £1bn) of spending.

The information below gives further detail as to how that is divided by services, as well as the challenges facing the council. We would like your views on the draft budget by completing a short survey.

Complete the survey and give us your views

The issue

The council faced a budget gap of £83m for next year, largely due to inflation pushing up the cost of delivering services, but also due to increasing demand for services, policy changes from government, workforce shortages and continuing impact from the covid pandemic.

Having worked to identify £68.6m of efficiencies within the budget, the draft budget is currently facing a £14.4m overspend.

The options

There are limited options to close that gap and deliver a balanced budget:

Increasing council tax

Last year residents faced a 4.99% rise in their bills with a 1.99% increase in Council Tax and 3% additional precept for Adult Social Care. This year the government is permitting a Council Tax rise of 3% and a further 2% as an Adult Social Care precept. However, we know everyone is facing rising costs and under financial pressure.

The draft budget already assumes a rise of 2% as standard, so only a rise above 2% would help close the gap. The table below shows how much each additional 1% rise in Council Tax would raise to close the budget gap.

Percentage rise Additional cost per year of % increase for Band D rate payer Additional amount raised for Surrey
1% £16.20 £8,326,599
2% £32.40 £16,653,199
3% £48.78 £25,072,316
4% £64.98 £33,398,915

The Surrey County Council core council tax figure prior to any increase is £1,440.91 plus the Adult Social Care precept of £185.48 per Band D property. This raises £836m in revenue for Surrey County Council.

More efficiency savings

Local Government budgets have been reducing since 2010 and much of the efficiencies that could have been made have already happened, including £68.6m in this budget already, to try and counteract the rising costs of inflation. Surrey has undergone huge transformation of the past five years and is already delivering more for less, so any further efficiencies beyond those already identified are likely to have a big impact on services that people rely on.

Using reserves

Our levels of reserves (savings) have been slowly rebuilt after falling to low levels a few years ago. They are now at adequate levels and should be at least maintained to ensure we can tackle any emergency or crisis that comes our way. The budget plans for next year have already reallocated money that was due to be added to our reserves. Also, using reserves would simply make the challenge worse in future years as the budget gap would grow further.

Increase in Government funding

The government announced some additional funding for councils to help ease pressures in the Adult Social Care sector, during the Autumn Statement on 17 November. An estimate of that additional funding is included in the draft budget, but the council is unlikely to get confirmation of the actual allocations until mid-late December, as part of the Local Government Finance Settlement.

Draft budget

Pie chart illustrating the draft budget as described in the text below

This list shows the council's budget plan for next year by each service area, and an indication of how much that is in terms of average Council Tax. For illustrative purposes, this represents the total budget split by the Band D council tax value. Some areas are funded by specific restricted grants, which are not reflected here. This is the county council's Band D figures only and does not include amounts raised by district and borough councils, Surrey Police or parish councils.

Adult Social Care

Looking after people with disabilities, severe needs, and as they get older.

£434.5m per year. That is equivalent to £657.88 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Public Service Reform and Public Health

Working closely with our NHS partners to help people live healthier lives and keep them safe and well.

£34.4m per year. That is equivalent to £52.09 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Children, Families and Lifelong Learning

Giving young people the best start in life, with additional care for those who need it and supporting education providers.

£255m per year. That is equivalent to £386.20 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Environment, Transport and Infrastructure

Improving our roads and public transport, managing our countryside, and tackling the climate emergency.

£153.1m per year. That is equivalent to £231.83 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service

Keeping residents safe and responding to emergencies

£38.6m per year. That is equivalent to £58.52 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Customer and Communities

Helping local communities thrive, providing libraries, registrations, customer services and funding grants.

£17.4m per year. That is equivalent to £26.42 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Prosperity, Partnerships and Growth

Working with businesses and other partners to help grow Surrey's local economy

£1.6m per year. That is equivalent to £2.42 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Communications, Public Affairs and Engagement

Making sure residents are well informed, can access services, and that Surrey's collective voice is heard.

£2.1m per year. That is equivalent to £3.13 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Resources

Things like Surrey Crisis Fund, school meal provision, administrative support, IT, legal services, and management of council buildings to keep services running smoothly.

£79.4m per year. That is equivalent to £120.22 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.

Central Income and Expenditure

Putting money into savings to help protect services in future, and repayments on borrowing used for our investment programme

£79.3m per year. That is equivalent to £120.08 of annual Council Tax for a Band D property.