Bucks County Council’s last ever budget with Government grant - and a 1.99% increase in council tax

Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett has revealed plans for a single unitary authority in the county
Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett has revealed plans for a single unitary authority in the county

Buckinghamshire will receive the Government’s Revenue Support Grant for the last time in the next financial year and council tax is set to rise by nearly 2%.

County Council cabinet members have agreed the last budget to include the government’s main contribution towards day to day delivery of services, known as the Revenue Support Grant.

Government support, which only five years ago stood at £81.9m and amounted to 27.5% of the county council’s spending, has fallen rapidly over the last few years as Whitehall has reduced funding as part of its strategy to balance the nation’s finances.

For the next financial year, which begins in April, the support grant will total £8m and in 2018/19 Bucks will become the first county council – alongside Dorset - not to receive it at all.

The budget will now go before full council on February 16.

Leader Martin Tett said the council had planned ahead and made ‘massive savings’, totalling over £100m in the last five years, including sharing back office functions with other councils, while also generating around £70m in income.

He said: “As a result we are in a much more stable financial position. This really is a common-sense budget following challenging times, which will put Buckinghamshire on a sure footing going into the future.”

Cabinet members, who were subjected to three days of questioning over council finances by the budget select committee in January, agreed a 1.99% increase in standard council tax.

The council will have a £330.3m million revenue budget (excluding schools) for 2017/18, with a council tax requirement of £261.4m and a Band D county precept of £1,218.08 for the year. This equates to an £1.11p increase per week for Band D rate payers. Council tax remains below the average for county councils in the country.

There is also a capital budget of £324.0m over the next four years. This includes £15.9m to spend on highways maintenance in 17/18 and £13.5m in 18/19, up from what was planned in the draft budget.