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Council leader Martin Tett gives his thoughts on the budget and the £40million extra in cuts planned at County Hall
8:00am Saturday 9th February 2013 in News
THE budget for Buckinghamshire County Council for the next financial year is set to be rubber stamped at a meeting on Monday.
Below, council leader Martin Tett, explains what he believes are the key points and outlines the authority's vision for coping with the years of austerity ahead.
With the country’s economy experiencing difficult times, managing County Council services continues to be challenging.
We have however planned over several years in anticipation of these tough financial circumstances. Importantly, we have taken the tough decisions that have made major savings: in the past three years around £68 million, through efficiencies, from our back office, and through good housekeeping. We plan to make another £40m in the next few years.
By doing this we have been able to continue providing the services that our residents need and even invest in those things that residents say are most important.
For example, further investment in restoring our roads. So far, we have devoted £30m to almost 300 resurfacing schemes, and next Thursday (February 14) Council will be asked to earmark another £25m for the next two years.
We are also managing to protect grants to community and voluntary organisations, supporting the valuable contribution they make to Buckinghamshire life. Look, for example, at the way communities across the county have come together with great vision to run their local libraries and the enthusiasm of local groups who are now shaping Day Centre facilities for local needs at Bourne End and Princes Risborough.
We are investing more than £4m this year to support our rural economy through expansion of high speed broadband, and we will also continue our support of East West Rail to open up opportunities in the north of the county.
These are careful investments in our county's infrastructure which will not only improve our residents’ lives but also bring jobs and growth.
Also, most importantly, I’m proud that we've managed to freeze council tax for the third year running, responding to feedback from more than 80% of residents who took part in our survey.