Road repairs in the spotlight
Report casts doubt over £260m spend
A REPORT has recommended the county council looks at whether borrowing £260m to fix the county’s roads would be value for money.
Bucks County Council’s budget scrutiny committee made the recommendation following a series of meetings, where it grilled cabinet members over plans for the upcoming budget.
The report makes suggestions for the final budget plan, including assessing changes to funding for voluntary groups, recruiting more staff for social care and looking at selling off residual heat from the Energy From Waste Plant.
The report recommends that a also full appraisal looking at whether borrowing money to fund fixing the county’s roads should be submitted to cabinet ‘at the earliest opportunity’.
This follows our January 15 front page story which reported on Peter Hardy, cabinet member for finance and resources, suggesting borrowing up to £260m to fix the county’s roads in one go would be a good investment.
He was supported by cabinet member for transport Ruth VigorHedderly, who said she was open to the idea.
Leader Martin Tett disagreed, saying borrowing would mean further cuts when people were already feeling the pinch in every department.
The Liberal Democrats also backed plans to borrow, saying it was a more sound investment than money spent on the new incinerator north of the county.
But the Taxpayers’ Alliance warned that borrowing should be the last resort.
Inquiry chairman David Shakespeare said: “We have given a full and robust challenge to the cabinet members on their budget plans, on behalf of residents, through a wide-ranging inquiry.
“We hope our report and recommendations will be of benefit to cabinet as the budgetsetting process nears completion.”
The inquiry report will go before cabinet on Monday.
The final budget will be agreed by full council on Thursday next week.