Spending - have your say

Residents, businesses and organisations in Bucks are being asked to give their views on how the council should prioritise spending next year in the annual budget consultation.

As Buckinghamshire Council prepares to set its budget for 2022/23, people are being invited to give their opinion on what services and areas should be given a higher priority and where they think savings could be made.

Council leader Martin Tett (pictured) said: ‘Like any business, we must balance the books.’

The pandemic has seen local authorities across the country face new and ever-changing problems. Increased costs across a range of areas, combined with reduced incomes, have only been partly balanced out by grants from central government.

As this year has progressed, although the worst of the pandemic is seemingly behind us, many uncertainties still lie ahead, warns the council.

All of this puts extra pressure on budgets and careful decisions need to be made to ensure continued support and services to those most in need. At the same time the council is committed to making substantial savings and efficiencies.

A number of council services, including social care for adults and children, are legal requirements, meaning that money for these is effectively protected and can only be spent for this specific purpose.

Other parts of the budget including spending on roads and transport, culture and leisure, street cleaning and parks and open spaces, have more flexibility with the ability for money to be spent where there is the highest priority.

Within the council’s Corporate Plan there are four priority areas outlined for the coming year which include:

  • Strengthening communities;
  • Improving the environment;
  • Protecting the vulnerable;
  • Increasing prosperity.

Mr Tett said: ‘We cannot spend money we haven’t got but we have the ability to prioritise where the money we do have available is spent so we can make decisions on how and where to allocate funds to help improve the quality of life of all Buckinghamshire residents.

‘At the same time I remain determined that we achieve some very challenging financial savings as a result of bringing all of our local councils together.

‘We really want to hear from local people on what they feel our priorities for the coming year should be.

‘It’s important to think about what’s important to you, your family or business but also to consider the bigger picture and the needs of our wider community.

‘I would urge everyone to take ten minutes to complete the consultation, so we can consider your views and do what we can to act on them.’

The budget consultation is open until 14 November. To take part visit this website.