Charg­ing ahead

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

vul­ner­a­ble, the meet­ing was told. Cab­i­net Mem­ber War­ren Whyte said it was vi­tal the pub­lic un­der­stood what the coun­cil was do­ing in charg­ing for ex­tended op­tional ser­vices to en­hance other key ser­vices.

He told the meet­ing: “I wouldn’t want res­i­dents to think that this coun­cil wants to charge for ev­ery­thing be­cause it can. It charges for cer­tain things be­cause they are op­tional or dis­cre­tionary ser­vices to sup­port the statu­tory ser­vices that we must de­liver.”

One ex­am­ple of the new pol­icy is the coun­cil’s plans to bor­row money to buy Lis­combe Park, an eques­trian cen­tre be­tween Soul­bury and Wing. The Cab­i­net agreed in prin­ci­ple on Mon­day to bor­row up to £1.7mil­lion to se­cure the pur­chase. The idea is that a net profit of around £32,000 per year will be gen­er­ated from this be­cause the rental in­come is £119,000 per year and there is a se­cure ten­ant on site. The coun­cil al­ready brings in ex­tra money by charg­ing on some ser­vices, but this pol­icy will look to en­cour­age far more in­come gen­er­a­tion.

Mr Tett, who told how the coun­cil needed to save £53mil­lion over the next four years, stressed the au­thor­ity was ‘des­per­ately short’ of day-to-day money to em­ploy peo­ple for ser­vices. He added: “As Govern­ment fund­ing to the coun­cil de­creases very rapidly in the next four years, we need to find al­ter­na­tive sources of in­come that will come in year af­ter year af­ter year af­ter year which we can use to pay staff and pro­vide those des­per­ately-needed ser­vices to res­i­dents, and that’s what this is about.”

Mr Tett said the coun­cil was some­times ac­cused of ‘penny-pinch­ing’, but the re­al­ity was, it was the same pound gen­er­ated in in­come that could be spent on pro­tect­ing a vul­ner­a­ble child or help­ing an el­derly adult.

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