Buckinghamshire councillors have signed off plans to increase council tax this coming year.

Buckinghamshire Council has agreed its budget plans for the 2023/24 financial year, proposals which included both a 2.99 per cent increase in council tax and a two per cent increase in the council’s adult social care precept.

When combined, the increases will see an average band D council taxpayer pay an extra £1.61 per week.

The council said they had to increase council tax due to high inflation and said in spite of ongoing savings from becoming a unitary authority, the authority needs to find an extra £63 million to cover its costs for the coming year.

Speaking after today’s meeting (February 14), Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said: “I first want to highlight that this budget has been shaped by residents and fully scrutinised by a cross-party group of councillors.

"Our spending proposals were informed by responses we had to our ‘Money Matters’ budget consultation at the end of last year, and once the plans were shaped, they’ve been heavily reviewed by scrutiny committee, and we’ve considered that feedback during today’s meeting.

"It means we’ve arrived at a budget to put forward next week for a final decision at Council, and this year has probably been the most challenging on record in which to make these choices. Global and political turbulence, high inflation and cost of living pressures are impacting us all and as an organisation running public services, we are not immune to rising prices, yet we have to protect our residents from swallowing all that inflationary pressure. However, as almost all of our income (93%) now comes from council tax and business rates, with the rise in the costs of providing our services, it means we’ve had to propose a further rise in council tax this year.  

"I do not take this lightly and want to urge any household concerned with meeting their costs to contact our council tax team direct and if needed, to also take a look at the Cost of Living advice on our webpages. You can also look to spread council tax payments over the full twelve months so as to lower the monthly cost.

"Amidst such a difficult context, with some councils even declaring bankruptcy, I’m pleased that Buckinghamshire Council remains financially prudent.

"My biggest priority of all is to continue to be a value for money authority – vital in light of the hardship we know many people are experiencing.

"I’m pleased we are still able to dedicate spend on the services and projects our residents tell us are most important to them.

"All members of the council will make a final decision on this budget next week.”