Cabinet members of Buckinghamshire County Council have agreed their 130th and final budget plan.
It will be the final budget as the new single Buckinghamshire Council comes into being on Wednesday 1st April 2020.
At a meeting on Monday 11th February 2019 they agreed to recommend to the full Council a 2019/20 budget for day to day spending of £356.3 million and capital spending of £86m.
This would be paid for with a proposed Council Tax rise of 2.99%, the equivalent of just 71p a week extra for an average band D property.
The plans include more funding for children’s services and adult social care, as well as £19 million for roads, including early repairs to combat the winter damage. There will also be investment made available to tackle unsightly weed growth in main towns and villages.
In addition, extra money should be generated for all five Buckinghamshire Councils as part of a new pilot scheme to allow them to retain 75% of new business rates across the County, rather than the current 50% level.
The County Council has seen Government funding for day to day services decline from nearly £61m six years ago, to nothing at all this year. However, a proposal by the Government to take even more money from local coffers, through what’s been dubbed ‘negative RSG’, has been withdrawn for 2019/20. This was confirmed as part of the final local government settlement published on Tuesday 29th January 2019.
Leader of the Council, Martin Tett said it was ‘a moment in history’ to preside over the very last County Council budget. Martin said : ‘What Cabinet has agreed is a measured, prudent and sound set of proposals that deliver a robust and balanced budget. Although, there continues to be significant risks and uncertainties going forward, we’re in very good shape overall.
Of course, we’ve had to take and continue to take difficult decisions, but these have allowed us to continue our strong focus on funding the key priorities that residents tell us they want.
I’m proud of this Council’s continued financial stewardship and the fact that the position we will transfer to the new Council is both sound and sustainable. I’m sure the new Council will appreciate inheriting such a favourable and positive financial standing which will provide a solid base for future service planning.‘
He added, ‘Can I also add my thanks to David Watson and the work of his Budget Select Committee who undertook such a detailed scrutiny of our budget plans. I’ve said before that this Council’s budget scrutiny process is probably the toughest of any county council in the country! At the end of the day, our plans are all the better for it.‘
The Cabinet’s budget decisions will be presented to the next meeting of the full Council for final agreement on Thursday 21st February 2019.