Buckingham Town Council announces below inflation tax rise in contrast to Aylesbury's unitary authority

Buckingham Town Council announced an increase of just 5p per week

By James Lowson
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:54 pm

In contrast to the unitary authority which represents Aylesbury, Buckingham Town Council has announced a Council Tax increase below inflation.

Announced today (January 19), the town council has revealed an increase of 1.43% which will cost a Band D household an extra £2.47 a year.

By comparison the Aylesbury-based Bucks Council which serves the entire county announced a Council Tax hike of 3.99%, costing Band D households £63.96 more per year.

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Overall, following today's announcement, the town council estimates that Buckingham residents will pay £175.74 a year for the council's services.

Buckingham Town mayor, Margaret Gateley, said: “As we plan for the next financial year and beyond, we are conscious of the pressure on low income households.

"We have therefore agreed a below inflation increase in Buckingham Town Council’s precept, which we believe balances the need for a cautious approach with our aim to provide good services, amenities and events for the people of our town."

The countywide tax hike followed a further Council Tax increase in Bucks the previous year, when last April a 1.99% increase was announced.

When the 3.99% rise was confirmed two weeks ago, the council cited an 'extremely challenging financial environment', as justification for the increase.

Within the rise in Bucks was a 2% precept to help pay for adult social care, the council says.

Bucks Council believes by making 'difficult funding choices', it can continue to support key residential projects and balance this year's budget, which is a legal requirement.

Bucks Council Leader Martin Tett said when the council announced its upcoming budget: “These are tough times and we are having to make really difficult choices as a result.

"There is no wriggle room in local authority budgets and I truly understand the pressures households are under with rising costs and increasing bills. I do want to stress that there is help available for people who are suffering severe financial hardship.

"Due to careful financial management, I must say that Buckinghamshire is in a better position than many other councils – we are able to dedicate funds to key capital projects that I know our residents have asked us to prioritise and many other local authorities simply aren’t able to do that.

"We’re spending more than £100 million on improving our heavily used road network and we are committed to opening an extra Household Recycling Centre – residents have told us that’s what they want, and we have listened.

"I urge residents to look at all the details of our proposed budget on the Council’s website. I know it’s not easy hearing about another rise in Council Tax but I really hope by looking at the details, the reasons behind our proposals are clearer."

In a further conversation with the Bucks Herald, the council leader cited a "double-whammy" of less income and more demand, as the reason a significant tax increase was required in Bucks.

He also noted that Bucks Council is still funding projects, at a time when other councils are racking up debt.