4th November 2022

Essex County Council has this week launched a consultation inviting all county residents and businesses how to spend its 2023/24 budget.

The consultation is now open, closing on Monday 28 November. You can take part in the consultation here: https://survey.euro.confirmit.com/wix/7/p350931054797.aspx?ebrm=1&l=9

The growing UK financial crisis is impacting every household and business budget and Essex County Council is no exception. The cost of materials and services in highways and social care alone have soared.

Against this difficult fiscal backdrop, Essex County Council is in the process of setting its own budget and is inviting businesses and residents to give their feedback on how public money should be spent in the coming financial year.

Next year the County Council plans to spend over £2bn, more than half of which will be spent on adult and children’s social care alone.

This includes funding for essential services such as social care, investment in the county’s roads, infrastructure, libraries, school buildings and future growth.

While £2bn is a significant amount, like other local authorities across the country, the Council will need to make difficult decisions about where to invest and where to make savings.

This is due to overlapping factors, including the significant impacts of inflation at a 40-year high, an unprecedented increase in the cost of living, the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing numbers of Essex residents needing different council services.

How much funding ECC will receive from the Government and what ministers might decide regarding limits on council tax increases is also unclear. The financial outlook for Essex is uncertain and forecasting for coming and future years, continues to be extremely challenging.

The County Council has a track record of strong financial management, having achieved £258m in savings over the past five years.

Last year the County Council announced ‘Everyone’s Essex’ an ongoing plan for levelling up the county. It contains 20 commitments to help Essex recover from the pandemic and to face the challenges of the future.

ECC needs to mitigate these pressures now, but also continue to plan for the future. We want Essex to be the best local authority in the country – as judged by the residents, the businesses, and the communities we support and serve.

To achieve this, we need to be honest and open.

We need the honesty to admit that we don’t have all the answers when it comes to tackling complex problems.  And we need to be open to new ideas and approaches – ensuring the services we provide and the investments we make are developed with our communities.”

You can help shape how we respond to the current uncertainty and to the pressures we face. It’s Everyone’s Essex, we are very keen to hear from you.