THE budget settlement Shropshire Council has received from the Government does nothing to solve the council’s longer term budget issues, and leaves it facing a £60 million budget deficit by 2027.

This is revealed in an update from the Council that says it does not have the money it needs.

The council had expected to receive a three-year budget settlement from the Government, but instead has been given only one year’s funding.

Next year the council’s day-to-day revenue budget will balance, but only because the Government funding assumes that Shropshire will raise council tax by 3.99 per cent, of which two per cent is a precept for adult social care, and it must raise charges, reduce spending and divert almost £12m of funds to balance its budget.

From 2023 to 2027 the council faces an annual budget deficit of almost £60 million, and is looking at ways that it can make more savings from its budget.

The longer-term financial position is made worse because Shropshire is one of England’s largest and most sparsely populated areas, and current Government funding formulas do nothing to address Shropshire’s rural nature, which makes running many council services cost much more.

It must, for example, maintain 5,200km of roads, one of the biggest networks in the country; while its population is ageing faster than the national average. Despite talk of ‘Fair Funding’ to replace the existing Government funding formula, this has been delayed year after year.

The council faces pressures due to ever-increasing demand for social care from its ageing population; inflation running at over five per cent currently; and extra cost pressures, such as the higher national insurance costs to fund the soon-to-be-introduced Health and Social Care Levy, but no funding from the latter will come anywhere near local government for at least three years.

The one-year budget settlement also means the council cannot accurately conduct longer term financial planning while pushing an even greater cost burden onto local council tax payers.