|Buckinghamshire Council today launches its budget consultation for 2021/22. Residents, businesses and other interested parties are being asked to submit their views on the council’s spending priorities for the coming financial year.
The council carries out a budget consultation every year, giving people the chance to have their say on where they think money should be invested and also in which services or areas they believe savings can be made.
Council finances have faced added pressure this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The double effect of additional spending to support our vulnerable and the variety of one-off costs incurred, combined with the loss of income from regular funding streams such as parking revenue and business rates has brought about a budget shortfall. Although some additional funding from central government has helped, it doesn’t cover all the additional costs and has left a funding gap of around £7m.
Council Leader Martin Tett explained: “2020 has been a year like no other. As individuals, families and whole communities, everyone has faced uncertainty and many challenges over the past six months. As a council our experience has been no different.
“We are now at the stage where we must set our budget priorities for the coming financial year. In any year this can be a challenge but undoubtedly this year will be even harder.
“Without a doubt we are better off having come together to form Buckinghamshire Council in April this year. Being one council we were able to work quickly to deliver a coordinated response to Covid and we were able to work more effectively with businesses and community groups as a single organisation.”
Martin Tett continued: “We now have an organisation that is better placed to respond to our residents and businesses’ needs. We will also be able to make substantial savings going forward as we bring services together. Millions of pounds of savings have already been made; however, others such as rationalising contracts as they come up for renewal and redesigning how we do things, will take time to realise so that we don’t damage vital services. The majority of these savings are likely to be over the next five years which doesn’t help in our current situation. In the meantime cost pressures have increased dramatically, particularly for social care, as a result of Covid.
“There are clearly tough decisions ahead, so it’s important that we give everyone the opportunity to have their say on what our spending priorities should be for the coming year.”
To take part in the online consultation visit our website. The consultation closes on Sunday 8 November.