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Council budget goes under microscope

The new Buckinghamshire Council will take over from April.

Published by Dan Gooding at 1:26pm 14th January 2020. 4-minute read.

Council budget goes under microscope

Plans for spending and a council tax rise by Buckinghamshire's new council are being examined over this week.

This week councillors will be putting the £1 billion spending plans for the new Buckinghamshire Council under the magnifying glass.

The proposed budget for Buckinghamshire Council sees over £1bn being spent on the county (including schools) in 2020/21.

It also includes a council tax rise of 3.99%.

It brings the five current district and county council budgets together and focuses on investment in children's and adult social care, creating 16 new Community Boards, new school places, tackling housing for the homeless and road and gulley improvements.

Over four days (14 to 17 January) councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny committee will meet to examine the Council's budget in detail.

The cross-party councillors on the budget task and finish group will do an intense deep dive on the budget proposals.  Over four days, they will question all the Cabinet members on the details of each of their Portfolio spending plans.  

The budget scrutiny meetings will start at 10am each day at the Oculus in the Gateway building in Aylesbury - the public can either attend in person or watch proceedings via the webcast.

The committee wants to hear from residents who have questions about how the new council is planning to spend its £1 billion budget.

Cllr John Gladwin from Chiltern District Council is heading up the budget task and finish group. He is urging residents to send in their questions and be part of this element of budget process too.

"We're spending public money to deliver vital services across Buckinghamshire which affect everyone who lives in the county in one way or another.  

"That's why it's so important that we involve local people in helping us to get our priorities right. We have to make sure that our budget for the next financial year is robust, that we are balancing the books, and that it serves the needs of the county and our residents.

"We've built on feedback we had from the budget consultation held last year to help develop these budget plans.  Now I want to give people another chance to ask us questions and be a part of this budget scrutiny process."

Anyone can put in questions quickly and easily ahead of the scrutiny meetings either by email to demservices-shadow@buckscc.gov.uk or on social media (Twitter and Facebook) @deliveringbucks using the hashtag #BucksBudget2020.

The full programme for the scrutiny meetings, together with all the background papers, is on the Shadow Authority website.

Meetings are taking place on the following days:

  • 14 January - Financial Strategy and Capital Budget, Leader and Deputy Leader Portfolios, Resources and Education
  • 15 January - Environment, Planning and Transportation
  • 16 January -  Health and Culture, Adult Social Care and Children's Social Care
  • 17 January - Communities, Closing session with Leader of the Shadow Executive

All the hearings will take place in the Oculus at the Aylesbury Vale District Council Gateway building. All are open to the public and will be webcast live online.

Following the scrutiny process the committee will produce a final report listing the recommendations which will be presented to the Shadow Executive on 18 February.  Final budget decisions will then be made by the full Shadow Authority at its meeting on 27 February.

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