12:57PM, Wednesday 12 January 2022
Buckinghamshire Council is proposing to increase council tax bills by 3.99 per cent as it aims to balance the books amid an ‘extremely challenging financial environment’.
Last week, the authority announced its budget proposals for 2022/23, with the tax hike seeing an average Band D property paying an extra £1.23 per week.
The rise also includes a two per cent precept to help pay for adult social care.
In other budget cuts, Bucks Council is also planning to reduce some of its funding for the 16 ‘Community Boards’ across the county.
These are groups made up of councillors and members of the public for towns and villages, with the cash for this scheme set to be slashed from £3.4million to £2million.
Buckinghamshire Council added that it is also having to make ‘significant savings’ as a result of becoming a single unitary authority in April 2020. In addition, it plans to use a one-off sum of £1.36million from its general fund to balance the budget.
Council leader, Cllr Martin Tett (Con, Little Chalfont & Amersham Common), said: “These are tough times and we are having to make really difficult choices as a result.
“Due to careful financial management, I must say that Buckinghamshire is in a better position than many other councils – we are able to dedicate funds to key capital projects that I know our residents have asked us to prioritise and many other local authorities simply aren’t able to do that.
“I urge residents to look at all the details of our proposed budget on the council’s website. I know it’s not easy hearing about another rise in council tax but I hope by looking at the details, the reasons are clearer.”
Within its four-year capital budget, Bucks Council proposes to spend £136million on schools; £117million on transport and highways maintenance and £8.5million on pavement repairs.
Its biggest costs are set to come from social care – with a budget to spend about £295million on this sector in 2022/23.
The authority says that it will now run a budget scrutiny process through public sessions, which began on Monday this week.