Surrey County Council (SCC) announced major spending plans as they revealed their 2020/21 budget on Monday (January 13).

A spokesperson said that the plans would be for a "balanced budget" but also include major investment services SCC already provides.

That will largely come from the nearly £1bn in net revenue funding SCC said is featured in the budget — money they plan to direct into funding for Adult Social Care, Children's Services, Highways, Waste Management and cultural institutions like libraries, among other areas targeted for funding.

Meanwhile, Council Tax will rise 1.99 per cent in the 2020/21 financial year under the proposals.

SCC said that money would go towards a "capital programme ambition" of over £700m of new investment over the next five years.

The budget follows the austerity driven budgets of recent years, with around £200m of cuts to SCC's finances since 2018.

Commenting on the plans, Council Leader Tim Oliver suggested that the more austere budgets of recent years had paid off and freed the council to invest more in services across Surrey.

"This year we are setting a forward-thinking budget, investing in Surrey now and for the future," he said.

"We have worked tirelessly over the past couple of years to get a grip of Surrey’s finances and we are now looking to the future with renewed optimism and energy.

"We will continue to deliver the services that the people of Surrey rely on, looking after the most vulnerable, keeping the county moving, protecting and improving the environment," Cllr Oliver added.

A spokesperson for SCC said that the responses of residents across the county had informed which areas the budget will target with additional funding.

"There was a clear appreciation for council services that looked after the most vulnerable in society and calls for further investment in highways and transport.

"The proposed 2020/21 budget and capital programme reflects this," the spokesperson said.

SCC hope to fulfil this via major spending on social care services including £372.1 million for Adult Social Care and £139.8 million for Children's Social Care and Commissioning.

Cllr Oliver said that SCC spend around £1 million every day on adult social care and that the new investment would help the council "transform" those services for better outcomes in the future.

Central government recently loosened county council purse strings on Adult Social Care, offering an increase of up to 2 per cent for the Adult Social Care precept which was adopted in the SCC budget.

Elsewhere the budget will allow for increased spending on Surrey's roads — a total of £92 million over the year overall.

SCC's previous declaration of a climate emergency situation was also taken into account.

The county council said it plans to spend £84 million in climate-based projects including "a solar farm, Ultra Low Emission vehicles and electrification of transport services including buses and school transport."

Other significant investments in the budget proposals include the previously touted £270 million for Surrey's Flood Alleviation Scheme, and £100 million for the Community Investment Fund.