It is a legal requirement that the council limits its spending to the income that it receives each year – the council’s budget must balance.
The five current councils have been working hard to balance their budgets alongside managing increasing demand for services over the last few years. Last year savings of £19.7m were made collectively – which has helped to manage increasing costs so far.
All five councils have previously agreed balanced financial plans until at least 2022/23, which include allowances for unavoidable growth in service cost and demand, increases in council tax and savings plans which meant these plans allowed them to ‘live within their means’. In bringing the five councils together we will build upon the work and plans already in place by the five current councils.
The financial strategy for the new council is to:
- Ensure a balanced and robust budget for the new council to live within its means.
- Align spend to the new council’s aims, priorities and statutory responsibilities.
- Make sure existing savings plans are sustainable and challenged and agreed alongside priorities for the new council.
In 2020 most of the income for the new Buckinghamshire Council’s budget will come from council tax and business rates.
What about the additional funds for local government as announced earlier this year?
Although central government have announced additional funds for local government in this year’s budget announcement, this money is only for one year so we need to think carefully about how we use it. It wouldn’t be good budget planning for example to use it to fund ongoing services as this would then mean there could be no money to pay for them in the next year.
Below is a summary of how we propose to allocate the budget of the new council in April 2020 and some of the services in each of those areas.
Note: Expenditure on the Schools Budget is funded by a specific grant which is not included in the above net budgets. In total we spend circa £441m on Schools and Education.
Please let us have your views about our proposals and which services in particular you think we should prioritise our spending on. This short questionnaire should only take a few minutes to complete.