Lincolnshire County Council to consider three per cent tax rise to pay for social care

Lincolnshire County Council leaders will be asked to approve a three per cent council tax rise for adult social care as the authority looks to make nearly £10 million of savings next year.

Lincolnshire County Council
Lincolnshire County Council

The authority’s executive, however, will not be asked to raise tax in general when they meet on Wednesday.

The three per cent ring-fenced figure was deferred by Lincolnshire County Council last year with bosses instead opting to take just 1.99 per cent rather than the five per cent total they were allowed. However, it cannot be deferred again and if not taken will be lost as an option to the authority.

In a report before the executive, officers estimate the rise will bring in £9.567million, while an assumed increase in council tax base (the number of people paying tax) will generate a further £4.982million. Although not recommended at this stage, the officers do estimate that if general council tax was raised by a further one per cent it would generate £3.189million of additional income and create a surplus.

The report also outlines £9.543 million of savings next year, and £25.585 million by 2025/26.

Officers said this will be achieved in a number of ways including maximising working from home arrangements and smarter working, reducing administrative support posts, closing surplus buildings and cutting supplies, services and travel budgets.

In total, the council’s revenue budget for 2022/23 had increased by 5.2 per cent from £505.448million to £534.515million.

The report said the council’s budget for 2022/23 “is balanced”, however, said there would be budget shortfalls of £9.335million in 2023/24, £6.480million in 2024/25 and £6.909million in 2025/26.

Some extra costs this year – including children in care being looked after outside the county – may have to be covered by the council’s volatility reserves.

The council is currently embroiled in an argument with the government’s Department for Transport in which it is calling for £12.3million taken from its highways budget to be reinstated – claiming thousands of potholes could be left unfilled and miles of road unrepaired if it doesn’t get the money.

If approved by executive next week the budget will undergo a series of scrutiny committees and return to the executive at a later date before being approved by full council by the end of February.