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New Bucks council's £1.2bn budget set for sign-off

New Bucks council's £1.2bn budget set for sign-off

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:48am 19th February 2020. (Updated at 5:54am 19th February 2020)

After 33 recommendations for changes and improvements, the budget for Buckinghamshire's new council looks set to be approved.

It includes a near-4% council tax rise, but also another million for road repairs and for home to school transport.

The 'Shadow Authority's' cabinet met yesterday to discuss the proposals for when the new council takes over in April.

It will see the four districts and one county council combine into one authority.

Buckinghamshire Council will have a gross budget of £1.2bn and a net operating budget of £435m.

In January, their budget went under a week of scrutiny, covering each department and the future vision for the new council.

Money - £5 £1 coin
Our council tax will go up again in April

There were votes on updates, including:

  • Having a dedicated cabinet member focused on tackling climate change
  • The budget should include specific budget lines which demonstrate how it will deliver the Council being net Carbon Neutral by 2035
  • That the council should ensure that there is sufficient capacity to deliver existing savings plans and an ambitious capital programme, as well as managing far-reaching service transformation
  • An additional £2.98m of New Homes Bonus in 2020/21, as announced in the Local Government Settlement
  • The announcement of an additional £366k of Homelessness Grants in 2020/21
  • The release of £1m of Adult Social Care contingency to address ongoing demand and complexity pressures from 2019/20
  • The addition of a further £1m to the Plane & Patch programme, to fix-up roads
  • The addition of £879k for Street Signs and Lines maintenance
  • The allocation of an additional £1.07m to Home to School Transport budgets in response to current year demand and price pressures
  • The funding of 10 Social Workers in 2020/21 from Social Care contingency budgets, at a cost of £0.907m to help address backlogs and caseloads in Children’s Social Care
  • An additional investment of £2.187m to support the ASYE Academy to support the development of new Social Workers
  • The addition of £0.5m to Business Support budgets to enhance administrative support for Children’s Social Care

Councillor Martin Tett explained that some suggestions were not suitable, but most were agreed:

"The view of the executive is that we are a transition body and it would be up to the new council for it to decide on a year to go net carbon zero and so on.

"We didn't totally agree with the scrutiny committee on how definite we should be on this, but we did say we wanted to allocate 5 million pounds to combat climate change to bring in measures to tackle it.

"It's really good that another group then challenges us on it. As a result I think the budget is better, its closer to what residents want and hopefully derives really good value for money that residents expect from local councils."

Capital projects include redevelopment in Aylesbury and Wycombe town centres.

The full Shadow Authority will get to vote on the final budget on 27th February, just over a month before the new council takes over.

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