Buckinghamshire County Council has welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget 2018 which was announced on Monday 29th October 2018.
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghasmhire County Council said: ‘Whilst not everything that we would want, this feels like it could be a ‘turning point’, the first good news for local government in quite a while.
I particularly welcome the cash injection of £420m nationally to help fix potholes. This is probably the issue that people write to me about most, and we desperately need this money, particularly if we have yet another ‘Beast from the East’ this winter. What we need now is a commitment to make this something we will receive every year and not just a ‘one off’.
The Budget also included extra money for adult social care with £240m nationally in 2019/20 and a further £410m in 2019/20 which can be spent on either adult or children’s social care.
Social care is the major issue for Buckinghamshire with our rapidly aging population putting immense pressure on our budget this year.
This money is good news, but again the problem is that it is a one off, which means we can’t use it to fund day-to-day expenditure – things we will need to pay for year after year, such as care home fees and staff wages. Importantly, we will need to see how much money Bucks will actually get from this. Later this year we should also see the long promised Social Care Green Paper. I just hope this is the ‘7th cavalry’ arriving, otherwise our budget is heading into very difficult times in the next few years.
Personally, the action to help our high streets is particularly welcomed. I know that so many of our Bucks shopping centres are really struggling, with too many empty shops. The business rate relief will hopefully help smaller shops, and the introduction of the proposed digital sales tax will help rebalance between high street and online shopping. Councils now need to work together to help reshape our town centres to make them really great places to go in the 21st century.
So overall, hopeful, but fingers crossed.
Of course, we still face some very difficult spending decisions next year, which is why I would encourage as many as possible to respond to our current budget consultation which remains open until November 14th.‘
The Buckinghamshire County Council 2019 budget consultation can be completed online at www.buckscc.gov.uk/budget2019.