A freeze in council tax for the fourth year running, increased investment in projects to kick start the economy and job creation and higher spend on areas of adult social care.
Those are amongst the headlines of Durham County Council’s proposed budget which will go before the authority’s Cabinet next week.
The paper, which also outlines how the council will make increased required savings totalling nearly £190m, 2011–17, will then go before Full Council on February 20 for a final decision.
Members will hear that cuts in Government funding mean that initial forecasts of a total reduction of some 28% to the budget are now more likely to equate to 36% between the years highlighted above.
In addition, should predicted further central Government funding cuts go ahead, that figure could be more like 40% by 2017-18 representing an overall revised savings target of some £200m.
To meet these unprecedented targets the council will stick to the plan supported by the public of protecting wherever possible front lines services while continuing to reduce management and support service budgets to balance the books.
Leader of the council, Cllr Simon Henig, said: “I am grateful to the public for their feedback during our recent consultation which shows a high level of understanding of how we have managed spending reductions so far.
“However, there is no doubt there are many more extremely difficult decisions which we will have to make.
“We will make these while continuing our discussions with residents and businesses in the county and while protecting those who are most vulnerable as best we can.
“This includes our proposal to freeze council tax for the fourth year running, our decision to protect council tax benefit payments for a year and our increased budgets for areas of adult social care as well as capital projects to boost the economy and job creation.
“Our commitment to protect and improve our offer to residents wherever we can is also evident through the announcement of two new household waste recycling centres at Crook and near Barnard Castle and a new customer access point for Stanley as well as our investment in Newton Aycliffe.”
The decision to protect council tax benefits to the most vulnerable households in the county for an initial one year period was approved by the authority’s Full Council on January 9, 2013.
A full list of new projects plus more information on the savings and budget plan are available at