A budget delivering an unprecedented fourth consecutive year of local authority funding reductions has been agreed by Cumbria County Council.
The council has approved the budget for 2014/15 which will save £24.4million while delivering a fourth consecutive freeze of the county councilís share of council tax.
The councilís planning process for making the huge savings necessary to balance the books has been shaped by an extensive three month public consultation.
Now the budget has been agreed, the county council can embark on a further reduction in back-office costs, stop doing some things, put prevention before cure when it comes to health, safety and wellbeing, and work with communities to develop local solutions to some of the challenges facing different parts of Cumbria.
The county council is at the half way mark in a six year period that will see its budget reduced by one in every four pounds that it used to receive to pay for local services.
Over the next three years, the organisation needs to save £88million on top of the £88million it has already saved since the start of the decade. This equates to roughly £769 for every household in Cumbria.
Following final confirmation of the county councilís grant settlement, councillors agreed to allocate additional one-off funding in 2014/15 to adoption services, special educational needs, repairs to storm damaged roads in Cumbria and extra support for schools.
The additional funding for 2014/15 totals £2.460m, and £564,000 will be used for reforms to special educational needs and £404,000 for adoption services. The council will use £500,000 to help support school improvements and the remainder (£992,000) will be used for storm repairs to Cumbriaís roads.
On council tax, the decision was taken to accept the governmentís freeze grant for 2014/15 which means no increase in the county councilís share of council tax for the fourth year running. As a result, the county council's share of the charge on a Band D property will remain at £1,161.50.
Council has also approved a new Council Plan which sets out the priorities which the organisation will focus on over the next three years, and includes commitments on a Living Wage, schools, care services, flooding and other activities.