Council laments ‘tough’ budget
Tax set to rise while funding is cut
A CASH-STRAPPED council is considering raising tax and cutting funding for voluntary groups during budget discussions.
Bucks County Council’s cabinet met on Monday, February 9, to discuss the authorities finances.
The changes include a 1.99 per cent increase in council tax.
Leader of the county council Martin Tett said: “While we were reluctant to have to increase council tax for a second year, we know from our budget consultation that residents backed a reasonable tax increase in order to maintain our most important services; and the 1.99 per cent increase will help us to do this.”
The cabinet also heard how children’s services will invest £1.4m to help attract social workers to the area.
The department was deemed inadequate by Ofsted last year and was told it had to create a plan to bring it up to standard.
The measures include a raft of payments ranging from £1,000 for children and family workers training to become qualified social workers to £5,125 for specific posts in the First Response Team.
Cabinet member Lin Hazell said: “It’s rare that the council considers enhanced rates for specific staff, however the market place for qualified and experienced children’s social care workers is under so much pressure that the council had to react.”
Other changes included changing hours at recycling and waste centres, less funding for voluntary organisations, a health and wellbeing contingency fund of £2.5m and a review of Transport for Bucks and Ringway Jacobs relationship.
PCSO funding will be phased out and the communities budget will also drop.
Cabinet member for community engagement Martin Phillips said there would be a focus on making libraries the heart of the community but lamented the shrinking of the budget.
He added the remaining libraries could become a trust.
Mr Tett added: “This was a tough budget but we could not do much else in light of the wider economic situation.”
A final decision on the plans will be agreed by the full council today (Thursday, February 12).