The cost of getting married in Surrey could go up as the council tax hikes kick in, according to papers. 

This is one of the changes residents could see this year with the rise of council tax at Surrey County Council as it looks to make £38m worth of savings. 

And the actual proposed rise to the council tax bill residents will received is 3.99 per cent.

With a slighter later publication date due to the general election on December 12, SCC has released papers on its budget for 2020/21. 

These will be scrutinised, debated and voted on by councillors during January and February. 

The main focus is on the 1.99 per cent council tax hike and a 2 per cent increase in the Adult Social Care precept. 

Taken together these lead to a proposed increase to the household bill of 3.99 per cent in 2020/21, which is equivalent to an increase of £1.11p per Band D property per week, according to the papers. 

The total amount expected from the council tax income is forecast to be £763.9m – including the adult social care precept.

Total funding for the council including business rates and grants as well as the council tax and adult social care precept is expected to be £968.4m.

Spending on projects such as roads, the relocation of county hall to Woking and flood alleviation scheme is estimated at around £1.36 bn for a five year capital programme. 

Cost of getting married to go up

An increase in income from Registrars and Civil Ceremonies is expected due to a “revised fee structure and expanded service offer”. This is also hoped to lead to a £300,000 saving.

Surrey County Council has said it needs to make a total saving (or efficiencies) of £38m in 2020/21. The target is “over and above” the £106m made in 2018/19 and £82m on track for 2019/20. In total £230m of savings (efficiencies) will have been achieved in the last three years.

This includes: £800,000 in savings expected from the transformation of the library service; £2.4m from the remodelling of children centres into family centres; £373,000 from the conversion of street lights to LED bulbs; and £200,000 from bus lane fines. The council is also looking to make £50,000 savings on its use of mobile phone apps. 

Spending on out-of-county sexual health tests and treatment set to increase

Surrey residents are entitled to get sexual health assessments and treatment out of the county, but when they do Surrey County Council is still charged. This expenditure is expected to increase this year, according to papers, and has been tabled as a £220,000 “financial pressure”. 

Financial pressures on Public Health is one area where concerns have been raised in the papers. This includes a range of services connected to stop smoking campaigns, weight loss, mental health, drugs and alcohol misuse and dental care and sexual health. 

But since responsibility of Public Health was transferred to local authorities in 2013/14 Surrey has experienced the lowest funding per head of population in England – £29 per head of population compared to the national average of £56 per head. Papers state “the financial outlook for PH (Public Health) is uncertain at present”. 

Funding for potholes and solar farms is to drop over next five years

The council has focussed on the amount of capital project investments it will be making – such as: £92m on roads and pavements; £84m on environment projects to help tackle the Climate Emergency such as solar farms; £270m to protect homes as part of the Surrey Flood Alleviation Scheme; and £31m to fund 883 extra places for children with special needs including a new SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) school in Woking. 

Total funding for the council including business rates and grants as well as the council tax and adult social care precept is expected to be £968.4m.

But this is predicted to be reduced by around £40m by the year 2025 as funding reforms “unwind” and overall Local Government funding reduces. The papers hint that these savings will be made by the continuation of the transformation of the council already in place.