Council tax increase ‘a move to self sufficiency’
COUNCIL tax for people living in a Band D property in South Bucks is set to rise by £5.
The increase was agreed on Tuesday, February 23, and comes as South Bucks District Council attempts to move towards self sufficiency from central government by 2019/20.
By that time, the council will have to be financially independent and also will be required to contribute to the national purse in order to help less affluent local authorities.
Council leader Ralph Bagge said: “We are doing much to find savings including continuing with the joint working programme with Chiltern District Council, which will add to the £1.5m per annum of savings already realised, whilst maintaining and improving services to residents. We still face many challenges, not least in providing temporary accommodation for homeless families. Our recent joint seminar with Chiltern District Council identified a number of new potential solutions which officers will evaluate when formulating our updated housing strategy.
“The budget for 2016/17 creates an economic development reserve of £50k. This will enable the council to carry out enabling work to secure funding for infrastructure improvements from major scheme sponsors, including Western rail access to Heathrow, HS2 and Heathrow Airport Limited, all of whom are bringing forward projects with potentially harmful impact on our district, and Iver, Iver Heath and Richings Park in particular.
“The Economic Development reserve will also enable this council to participate in the Connected Counties programme, which provides access to superfast broadband for businesses and homes that are currently only able to access slow ADSL.”
South Bucks cabinet, supported by members of the overview and scrutiny committee, took part in a series of task group meetings and rigorously identified future savings which have been incorporated into this budget. Work to secure the best mitigation possible with HS2 will continue, as will development on the Joint Local Plan with Chiltern. Mr Bagge said: “Given the steep reductions in government grant funding over the next four years, and the consequent pressures on our resources, I am very pleased to note that in 2016/17 the budget will deliver a surplus of £607k to the council’s reserves. Strengthening our reserves is vitally important as we look to invest in projects that will cut costs or generate additional revenue, for example, providing much-needed additional parking capacity in our town centres.”