Our budget spending plan for 2018/19, which sets out how and where Essex County Council will spend £1.8 billion, invests in what matters most to Essex families and businesses.
We are investing more than £300 million in roads, schools, new homes, broadband and apprenticeships - £32 million more than last year’s budget.
Our track record has been all about doing the right thing – investing sensibly in what makes a difference.
In the past year, we’ve resurfaced over 400 miles of roads – nearly 4 times around the M25 – and filled in 5,000 potholes. Social care assessments now take half the time because tablet computers are being used. That means faster care for the people who need it and less time spent on paperwork.
Our award-winning children’s services are so good the Department for Education has drafted in our staff to share their skills and support other councils on their own improvement journey.
Since April last year we’ve also supported the creation of 11,370 apprenticeships for young people in the county and helped 1,330 youngsters, who were out of work or education, move into employment or training. We’ll continue to invest to ensure our economy has the skills it needs to thrive.
This year, we are asking people for a little bit extra (just over £1 week for the average Band D property) to invest in and protect the services people rely on.
But it’s really important to put this in context. It’s just the third increase in eight years.
By not increasing council tax over that period we’ve managed to keep £161 million exactly where it should be, in the pockets of Essex taxpayers.
Demand for some of our services is increasing but our funding from Government is reducing and our grant will go entirely by 2020/21.
We have found other ways to cope with these costs, along with increases in inflation, business rates and National Living Wage payments.
Just like ordinary families and businesses, we are not immune to these pressures.
But our track record is second to none. We think our proposals strike the right balance. You can look at them here.