The Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, Martin Tett, has issued a statement in response to the Chancellors Spring Budget 2017 which was announced on Wednesday 8th March 2017.
Commenting on the Budget , Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, said: ‘I am very pleased that the Chancellor has listened to county and metropolitan councils and acted on the crisis in Social Care. The rapidly ageing population and the rising costs of providing care for those in need is pushing many councils’ finances over the tipping point. We will need to see the detail but the initial commitment of £2 billion over the next three years is welcome. Much will depend on how this money is distributed around the country. It needs to come where need is greatest, not just allocated on some historic formula. Also how much will be maintained in funding to councils’ budgets into the future?
On transport it was good to see a commitment to an extra £690 million to tackle urban congestion but this will be allocated by ‘competition’. We need to know what will be the criteria for this competition and over what period the money will be available? Councils preferably need certainty to plan roads over a long period of time, not annual announcements. The fund also needs to focus on areas with high future housing growth not just existing town centres.
Disappointingly, whilst there was much reference to the so called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and ‘Midlands Engines’, there was little or no mention of the South East. Whilst it is important to ensure that all parts of the country prosper, it is also vital to remember that the South East of England is the true ‘economic heart of Britain’. We are one of the few parts of the country with a net contribution to the national Treasury and we provide the money to fund investment elsewhere. We need to see investment in the South East, particularly given its high housing growth targets if it is to remain successful.
Lastly, as a County Council committed to Selective Education we welcome the proposal that there will be the opportunity for more parts of the country to benefit from a ‘Grammar style’ education. Providing the next generation with the type of opportunity that their predecessors had will be great for the country’s productivity and for social mobility.‘