Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

PEO­PLE and busi­nesses were asked to fill in a survey, to help the coun­cil set out its pri­or­i­ties.

425 or­gan­i­sa­tions com­pleted the survey, 58 per cent more than last year, while 2,034 peo­ple liv­ing in Bucks also filled it in.

The top pri­or­i­ties ac­cord­ing to peo­ple liv­ing in the county were pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren and adults (58 per cent), car­ing for the dis­abled and the vul­ner­a­ble (43 per cent), and sup­port­ing in­de­pen­dent liv­ing (42 per cent), fol­lowed by pro­tect­ing peo­ple from crime (42 per cent).

The same pri­or­i­ties ap­peared in the list for or­gan­i­sa­tions, with the ad­di­tion of broad­band and at­tract­ing and sup­port­ing busi­nesses to cre­ate jobs and street light­ing, which was a low pri­or­ity for peo­ple liv­ing in Bucks.

The low­est pri­or­i­ties were gypsy and trav­eller sites (64 per cent), cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties (29 per cent), and cour­ses to im­prove skills (22 per cent), ac­cess to coun­try­side (21 per cent) and broad­band (21 per cent).

Seven in 10 peo­ple who an­swered the survey said they would pre­fer to in­crease coun­cil tax by ei­ther two to five per cent, 39 per cent pre­ferred a two per cent in­crease, while 29 per cent said a five per cent in­crease.

In to­tal 23 per cent said they would pre­fer to freeze coun­cil tax.

The coun­cil is now propos­ing a 1.99 per cent in­crease in coun­cil tax this year.

It said a rise was nec­es­sary, due to in­creas­ing bud­get pres­sures and a de­crease in fund­ing.

It is due to re­ceive £11m less from Gov­ern­ment this year, and £3m due to an in­fla­tion rise, plus £14m where there is pres­sure to spend more – to­talling £28m less than last year.

To close the gap it sug­gested a coun­cil tax rise, or re­duc­ing or main­tain­ing ser­vices in var­i­ous ar­eas to save £16m over­all.

About £8m of this would be through chang­ing how the coun­cil works, £2m from in­come from ser­vice user charges, £2m from re­duc­tions that were al­ready planned, and £4m in grants.

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