Have your say on tax rise or ser­vice cuts

Coun­cil asks pub­lic to help it make ‘tough decision’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Laura Mowat laura.mowat@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

BUCKS County Coun­cil is invit­ing peo­ple to have their say on whether the au­thor­ity should raise taxes or cut ser­vices to plug a £12mil­lion short­fall.

The survey, Tough De­ci­sions For Tough Times, aims to get peo­ple in­volved in help­ing to de­cide which ar­eas of the coun­cil’s work spend­ing should be fo­cused on.

The survey will be posted to a ran­dom se­lec­tion of 3,000 peo­ple and com­mu­nity groups, while busi­nesses are also be­ing asked to take part.

Cab­i­net mem­ber for com­mu­nity en­gage­ment Martin Phillips (Con) said: “It’s more im­por­tant than ever for peo­ple to take part in bud­get decision-mak­ing.

He added: “The county coun­cil is fac­ing its big­gest ever chal­lenge this year, and we need our res­i­dents to help us make what will be some very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions on the ar­eas of work where we should pri­ori­tise spend­ing.”

Last year the county coun­cil in­creased coun­cil tax by 1.5 per cent and the survey asks peo­ple whether it should in­crease again or be frozen.

In the past three years, the coun­cil’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment fund­ing has re­duced by 40 per cent and it has re­duced spend­ing by £55mil­lion.

A fur­ther de­crease in gov­ern­ment fund­ing will lead the coun­cil to have a £12mil­lion bud­get gap for next year.

UKIP county coun­cil­lor Chris Adams said: “It is about what ser­vices peo­ple need and what is less im­por­tant.

“It is very dif­fi­cult for the coun­cil as we still have lower fund­ing from the gov­ern­ment and an in­crease in ser­vices as we have an age­ing pop­u­la­tion. It is dif­fi­cult to find an­swers.”

The county’s UKIP coun­cil­lors were against the coun­cil tax rise last year as they would have pre­ferred to see an ex­tra gov­ern­ment con­tri­bu­tion, but the party has not dis­cussed whether it would be against a coun­cil tax rise for the next fi­nan­cial year.

The survey is on­line at w w w. bu c k s c c . g ov. u k / bud­get un­til the clos­ing date, Novem­ber 9.

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