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News - 27 February 2012

Hampshire County Council budget for 2012/2013

Hampshire County Council has made extra provision for the elderly, the young, the disabled and disadvantaged and delivered another council tax freeze in its budget for 2012/13. This is despite having to make cost reductions of £45 million dictated by cuts in government grant.

The next three years will also see an unprecedented level of one-off resource invested into capital expenditure, including £30 million for school places and £45 million for Extra Care housing for elderly people.
More than £3 million per year is to be added to the budget to be used solely to ease the plight of those most in need of help and protection, following the agreement of the Full County Council on 23 February.

A recurring £200,000 is also going to fund sustainable projects in rural communities affected by the downturn in the economy, such as broadband, business development and avoiding shop closures.

The Council is putting an extra £11.5 million into the adult care budget to offset the ongoing rising demand from an ageing population and the increasing complexity of people's needs and is committed to continuing to care for those with critical or substantial needs.

The Council's revenue budget for providing all its services excluding schools (which are funded via a direct grant from Government) is £663million.

Ongoing cuts in public sector spending led to Hampshire losing 14.3 per cent of its Government grant last year and 10.4 per cent in 2012/13. Further cuts are yet to be confirmed for the next two years. To meet these reductions and other budget pressures, the County Council is in the middle of an ambitious £100m cost reduction and modernisation programme. This has focused on cutting running costs, restructuring and modernising services and seeking opportunities to share services.

The Council acknowledged the 'human cost' of saving £100 million from budgets, with 1,400 staff having left the organisation, including one in four managers, and further reduction of 228 staff forecast for the coming year. This excludes the Corporate Services Review, which will integrate corporate professional and support services, and where work is taking place to finalise the new structures. The budget includes £500,000 for two years to develop the new skills remaining managers will require under the Council's unprecedented change and transformation programme.

The County Council will freeze council tax in 2012/13, which means it will have been at the same level for three years. Band D council tax will be £1,037.88, one of the lowest in the country, which means Hampshire continues to provide services at a lower cost per head than other county councils

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