Road re­pairs to be axed in £28m cuts?

Coun­cil leader: ‘Do you want to pay more to pro­tect ser­vices?’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Camilla Good­man camilla.good­man@trin­i­tymir­

THE leader of Bucks County Coun­cil has warned that road resur­fac­ing work could be axed amid ‘sav­age’ spend­ing cuts.

The au­thor­ity must save £28mil­lion in next year’s bud­get due to re­duced gov­ern­ment fund­ing and a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion. Tax­pay­ers are to be asked whether they would pre­fer front­line ser­vices to be cut or taxes to be raised to plug the gap.

The coun­cil has iden­ti­fied where it can make £16m in sav­ings, but it still needs to find £12m.

Leader Martin Tett said the coun­cil’s top pri­or­i­ties in­clude safe­guard­ing chil­dren, look­ing after the el­derly and pro­vid­ing more school places.

But Mr Tett warned that the road treat­ment pro­gramme and other front­line ser­vices could be cut.

He said: “We’ve spent £70m on our roads over the past few years with another £60m planned, but with the chal­lenges we’re fac­ing we could be forced to cut the roads pro­gramme to fill the gap.

“We need peo­ple to un­der­stand how se­ri­ous and chal­leng­ing the bud­get sit­u­a­tion is.

“We’ve been mak­ing sav­age cuts for 10 years and now we’re cut­ting into ser­vices that peo­ple value.”

Mr Tett said another way to fill the gap is to in­crease coun­cil tax.

As part of the con­sul­ta­tion, the coun­cil is ask­ing if peo­ple would like to see coun­cil tax frozen, in­creased by two per cent (42p a week ex­tra for Band D) which would save £4.5m, or in­creased by five per cent (£1 a week ex­tra for Band D), which would cre­ate in­come of £12m, mean­ing ser­vices could be pro­tected and pro­grammes like in­vest­ment in roads could con­tinue.

Mr Tett said: “We’re ask­ing if they’d rather see a slash in ser­vices or if they’d rather pay a lit­tle bit more and keep ser­vices.

“With­out mak­ing coun­cil tax in­creases, I don’t think we can make enough ad­di­tional sav­ings while at the same time con­tin­u­ing to pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

“It’s about mak­ing tough choices. We want to hear your views.”

The con­sul­ta­tion ends on Sun­day, Novem­ber 9.

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