County council chiefs agree Gloucestershire's budget
A BUDGET headlined by cuts but with the stated aim of protecting society's most vulnerable people has been agreed by Shire Hall bosses.
Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet met today to green light the financial plan for 2013/14.
The proposals, which will now be put before a meeting of the full council later this month, include a host of savings across various areas, including to the Fire and Rescue Service.
But investment in adult services has been protected from the knife as the council tries to cope with the increasing demands of the county's ageing population.
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The authority has had to make some changes to the draft budget it presented in December as it only found out the final details of its hand out from central government this week.
It has also now factored into its plans the money it is being given this year to take on responsibility for some aspects of public health.
The overall pot of money available to the council has shrunk by about £15million.
Councillor Ray Theodoulou, cabinet member for finance and change, said: "The draft budget was put out to consultation in December and it was a draft budget because the figures were incomplete.
"Since then we have now received the data required and it was only on Tuesday that the final settlement was announced by the government.
"The draft budget was of £405million with council tax levels being frozen.
"This budget has since been increased by the award of £21million to support our new activity in public health and a further sum of £4.1million which has been made available because of the difference in the rates we had expected in our council tax base."
"We will also receive an additional £560,000 from the government as part of the New Homes Bonus."
This one off New Homes Bonus payment will be used by the authority for debt redemption.
Meanwhile the £4.1million will be used to invest in numerous schemes promoting growth, like helping first time buyers get onto the property ladder by providing mortgage help.