Cash-strapped Bucks County Council forced to give £11 million to other councils

County Hall, Aylesbury
County Hall, Aylesbury

Cash-strapped Bucks County Council has been forced to put aside an additional £11 million which will be handed over to other authorities in the country.

Over the past four years Bucks County Council’s £61 million portion of government funding, known as the revenue support grant (RSG), has been slashed to zero, putting more pressure on already tight budgets.

And the cuts are set to continue – as the government has reduced the county council’s business rates income by £11 million in 2019/20 – known as negative RSG.

The money will then be put into a government pot of funding for councils across the country.

Speaking at a full council meeting leader Cllr Martin Tett, branded the move “grossly unfair”, however he added the funds may be reimbursed.

He said: “Members will be aware that this year we receive absolutely no revenue support whatsoever from Government.

“And next year we have had to budget to have £11 million of what is effectively our own revenue removed from us to fund other councils elsewhere in the country.

“I find that grossly unfair and I have said so in this venue and indeed to government ministers very recently.”

Along with Dorset, Buckinghamshire is the first council to receive no Government support at all – with almost half of all 168 councils set to receive no core central government funding in 2019/20.

Cllr Tett added the government has a pot of cash for councils who have had to hand over additional cash – however it is unclear if Bucks will receive a portion of this fund.

He said: “There was an announcement that they will be looking again at this and there is a sum of money that the government will be using to mitigate this.

“What I have not seen yet is exactly what that will mean for Bucks and our colleagues in district councils.

“Whether that will mean the full remission of negative RSG, partial remission of negative RSG or in our case no remission of negative RSG.”

The county council is also able to apply to retain more of the money collected locally from business rates – however it is not guaranteed the bid will be successful.

Cllr Tett added: “What I am hopeful for is if we can reach agreement with our colleagues in the district councils all of whom should gain from this scheme, it should mean we get potentially millions to help us in what is a challenging environment for us financially.”