Bucks local authority confirms plans to increase council tax by 4.99 per cent

The council has revealed its budget proposals for the next financial year
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Bucks local authority has confirmed its plans to raise council tax by 4.99 per cent.

This evening (5 January), Bucks Council announced its budget proposals for 23/24 which includes another tax hike.

A raise of 4.99 per cent represents the highest amount tax can be raised by without triggering a local referendum.

Bucks Council Leader Martin TettBucks Council Leader Martin Tett
Bucks Council Leader Martin Tett

Out of the overall increase two per cent is linked to a national social care precept set by the Government.

Proposals announced today are subject to further scrutiny by the Finance and Resources Select Committee and must then be agreed on by the council.

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Projections from the local authority states that the unprecedented national inflation added an extra £63 million in costs for the next year, separate from any potential council projects.

National inflation reached a 41-year high in the UK in December 2022 of 11.6 per cent.

Projected tax increases would mean that band D households in Bucks would be paying £1.61 more tax each week.

The council has revealed that over 2,000 residents offered suggestions on how the budget should be allocated.

Within the budget proposals the council is suggesting: allocating another £125 million on fixing and maintaining roads, plus nearly £143 million on school improvements, £20 million on housing and tackling homelessness, £14 million on climate change and flood prevent, and more than £20 million on recycling facilities.

Bucks Council Leader, Councillor Martin Tett, said: “This is an incredibly challenging climate to set our budget in. We do not want to put up council tax, but the stark reality is that we simply cannot balance next year’s budget without doing so. Last year’s council tax increase was well below inflation and now, with inflation running at more than 10%, even with substantial savings, this is the only way we can pay for the services we provide whilst shielding residents from the bulk of the cost increases.

“While, after twelve years of making savings, there are no more easy efficiencies to make, we are looking across every aspect of the council’s work to see where we can save money to help fund our proposed spending for 2023/24. I am determined that we will continue to be a very efficient, value for money council. While it’s difficult proposing a 4.99% council tax rise, I am still pleased that we are in a much stronger financial position than many other councils around us.

“We have seen a rise in the number of councils issuing what are known as ‘Section 114 notices’ – where they are simply unable to set a balanced budget. We are not in that situation here in Buckinghamshire and I’m pleased that we can still set aside spend on the areas our residents have told us matter most to them such as roads, drains and helping the most disadvantaged within the 23/24 plans.”

The council’s proposals will be scrutinised at a cross-party events starting next week.

Residents are encouraged to contact the local authority with suggestions and questions regarding today’s announcement.