Budget 2024-2025

What is causing the increased costs?

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The increase in costs is predominantly caused by inflation, increasing demand for both children’s services and adult social care. Not raising Council Tax in 2023/2024 means there is less income to fund those services. 

We’re not alone in facing difficult financial decisions, inflation and rising costs for social care are national issues. Many local authorities across the country are making decisions to reduce non-statutory services and several local authorities have issued a Section 114 notice to indicate they cannot balance the books which is a legal requirement for all local authorities to do. As a result of issuing a Section 114 notice, all new spending - with the exception of protecting vulnerable people and statutory services - must stop immediately. Several other local authorities have warned they are at risk of this too.

The financial picture in Central Bedfordshire is healthier but we do need to make some tough choices to avoid this situation in the future.

Inflation and higher interest rates have increased council costs by £19million.

Next year it is estimated the council will need £11million more to provide support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), education transport and to care for children who need support and protection (including fostering). 

It is estimated £3.7million of additional funding will be required to meet the increasing demand and increasing complexity of care needs of older people, adults with a learning or physical disability and individuals with a mental health condition.

Some of the pressures are offset by using around £15.1million of reserves, but a further £37million will be needed next year to continue to provide all of the services the council provides now.

You can also read about all of the pressures in detail in the draft budget papers on this website.