Hertfordshire County Council could increase its share of tax by 3.99 per cent in spring.

The council revealed its plans for the 2020/21 financial year in a draft budget that has been backed by its cabinet and will be scrutinised in the next five weeks.

The proposal includes plans to increase the county council’s share of the tax by 1.99 per cent – as well as an additional two per cent for adult social care.

It highlights £17million of ‘cost efficiencies’. But the council also promises significant investment – in excess of £38million – in the adult social care workforce, children in care, the road network and public transport.

At a meeting of the cabinet on Monday (January 20), executive member for resources and performance Cllr Ralph Sangster outlined the proposals.

He acknowledged the council had been "through a significant period of financial consolidation" over the past decade – during which the council had saved almost £2billion.

But he said these latest budget proposals would see “the first real expansion of service delivery for some time”.

He highlighted £10million earmarked to support public transport and bus priority measures, £8million to invest in the local road network and £8million to support children in care.

He also pointed to £12million – largely funded from the two per cent increase to council tax – that would be invested in the county’s home care workforce.

And he said: “This year’s budget will make a real difference to our communities, improving the quality of life for many of our residents, in particular those who are most vulnerable.”

At the meeting Cllr Sangster told the cabinet the proposals had been drawn up during a period of “considerable uncertainty”.

But he said the council’s anticipated financial position for 2020/21 had been improved by the council’s share of the £1billion national allocation for social care, other grants and the powers to increase council tax.

And he said that this – combined with £17m cost efficiencies, inflation levels and council tax collection expectations – had enabled the council to present a “balanced budget”.

However, he warned the council needed to remain “vigilant” – with funding gaps expected in the following three years.

Cllr Sangster said the plans to increase council tax – by a total of 3.99 per cent – would bring in an additional £24million.

According to the report to the cabinet for a typical ‘band D’ property that would increase council tax from £1,359.94 to £1,414.20 – that’s an increase of £54.26, or £4.52 a month.

Meanwhile data in the report showed that funding gap the council faces next year could be between £13.59m and £44.2m, depending on whether new government funding is continued, or not.

Following the approval by the cabinet the draft budget plans will now be considered by the scrutiny committee and the council’s cabinet panels.

They will be re-considered by the cabinet next month (February) before being presented to a meeting of the full council on February 25.