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‘EXTREME PRESSURE’: Bills set to rise as Buckinghamshire Council set three year plan to balance books

 Published on: 9th January 2024   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

Bills are set to rise across Buckinghamshire as the county council wrestles with the tough financial climate.

The council reports facing significant extra financial pressure because of rising costs and demand particularly for services that help the most vulnerable, such as social care, providing temporary accommodation for people who have become homeless and home to school transport (particularly for children with special needs). All of these are critical services that people depend on, and which are statutory, meaning the council is legally obliged to fulfil these services.

Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett said: “Council budgets are under extreme pressure everywhere and it’s been very challenging to produce a balanced budget that takes us through to 2027. This won’t come without pain and a reduction in some services that people may notice and feel.

“Overall though, this Medium Term Financial Plan shows how we can maintain core, frontline services, and still put some further investment into those areas residents have asked us to prioritise, within the threshold of current council tax rate rises that are allowed without holding a referendum to increase council tax further.

“I know it will not be welcome news to our residents that bills will rise again from April, but we simply have no choice. Council tax makes up some 80% of the funds needed to pay for our services and with costs and demands rising, despite large savings, so must our income. I know that this might cause worry for some households so I urge anyone who is worried about paying their council tax bill to get in touch with our team in the first instance as there is help and advice we can offer.

“As an organisation, we have an overarching plan that supports four key principles; strengthening our communities, improving our environment, protecting the vulnerable and increasing prosperity and we are still in a position to fund services and projects that deliver on these priorities.

“These are difficult times and it’s harder than ever to pay for the services we all value. I really hope our residents can understand the thinking and planning behind these proposals which I want to be fully upfront on. The budget will go through a rigorous scrutiny process during the second week of January so I invite people to look at the plans in detail and put forward any questions or comments they have on these plans so this feedback can be considered during these important meetings.”

Photo credit: Mark Cox

 

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