Surrey County Council approved its 2020/21 Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy at a Council meeting on 4 February 2020.
The council has set a balanced budget, setting out nearly £1bn in net revenue funding on vital services such as Adult Social Care, Children's Services, Highways, Waste Management, maintaining the countryside, Community Safety and cultural services like libraries.
- Adult Social Care - Support for older people and adults with physical disabilities, mental health support needs and learning disabilities: £372.1 million
- Children's Social Care and Commissioning - Child protection and care for vulnerable children: £148.3 million
- Council support services - These enable the rest of the council to function, ensure residents are informed about services, keep the democratic process running smoothly and provide support to staff: £81.2 million
- Early years and education support – This is additional to the ring-fenced education funding set by government and pays for things like early help for families, school transport and additional school places: £64.8 million
- Highways and transport - Road and pavement maintenance and improvement, streetlights, gritting, bus services and road safety: £62.9 million
- Waste disposal - Disposing of waste and delivering the county's 15 Community Recycling Centres: £67.9 million
- Community Protection - Fire and Rescue, Trading Standards and Emergency Planning: £33.8 million
- Cultural Services - Libraries, Registrars, Surrey History Centre, Surrey Arts and Adult Learning: £6.3 million
- Environment and planning - Looking after the countryside and putting in place strategic planning policies: £3.8 million
- Other costs - including costs for debt repayment, pension cost commitments and further transformation support: £68.2m
In addition, the revenue budget includes spending on Public Health (£36.3m), Special Educational Needs and Disabilities services (£41.5m), which are paid through grant funding rather than Council Tax.
Council Tax will rise by 1.99%, helping to increase the Council's capital programme ambition by around £700m of new investment over the next five years. In addition, the 2% Adult Social Care 'precept' introduced by Government, will be taken up to help support our vulnerable adults and those in need of care.
A five-year capital programme has also been approved, that aims to deliver around £1.4bn of investment in the county, including £700m of new spending on:
- Highways – We are increasing our investment in our 3,000 miles of road and pavements, spending £92m on improving and maintaining Surrey's highway network
- Greener Futures – We are investing around £84m in projects to protect the environment and help tackle the Climate Emergency, including a Solar Farm, Ultra Low Emission vehicles and electrification of transport services including buses and school transport.
- Extra Care – We are investing up to £7m in the first phase of a programme to deliver 725 specially adapted homes for elderly residents, to increase independence and reduce hospital admittance.
- Surrey Flood Alleviation Scheme – We are investing £270m to protect over 30,000 homes and businesses from the risk of flooding – enhancing the environment, attracting investment and keeping residents safe.
- Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) - We are investing £31m to provide 883 additional places for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, including a new SEND school in Woking.
- Schools – We are investing a further £70m to provide additional school places and improve school facilities across the county
- Community Investment Fund – We are providing a £100m fund to regenerate high streets and invest in local communities, working with residents, businesses and partners like the districts and boroughs.
Ahead of budget setting, Surrey County Council ran a public survey to understand residents' priorities for how their money is spent.
The responses showed an appreciation for council services that looked after the most vulnerable in society and called for further investment in highways and transport. The 2020/21 budget and capital programme reflects this.