Residents could face their first district council tax increase in six years as councillors agreed to consider a rise to combat a fall in heavy government cuts. 

Wycombe District Council’s core funding from the government will reduce by 48 per cent over the next four years, with a 17 per cent reduction in 2016/17 - from £2.475 million to £1.490 million.

By the end of the four year period, the council will get £2.6 million less in funding every year from the government.

WDC Cabinet members have now agreed to take forward a raft of proposals for the 2016/17 budget, including an increase in council tax of £5 per year for a band D tax payer, to make up for the loss.

The proposed increase on council tax – from £126.99 to £131.99 (Band D), would be the first since 2010/11, but even with the rise, the council still needs to make savings of £2.5 million by 2021/22.

Cllr David Watson, cabinet member for finance and resources, said WDC is facing a number of “unknown unknowns” because of a ‘considerable’ gap in funding which is set to emerge, but said the council must continue to provide services without running into financial problems.

However, the government has calculated that WDC’s spending power will reduce by 10.5 per cent over the four year spending review period, even with a £5 increase on council tax each year.

Cllr Watson said: “We do the best we can, given a rather uncertain future and in my opinion and others in this council, we need to ensure we maintain financial responsibility for our local residents, so that we can continue to provide services and we can meet new pressures as and when they arise.”

While WDC is forecasting a balanced budget for next year, there is expected to be a deficit the year after that, meaning more savings programmes will need to be identified to prevent this from happening.

Cllr Watson said: “All we can be certain of is that there will be new things that come along in the year ahead which we need to be prepared for.

“Our funding situation is going to dry up so we need to generate new sources of income to maintain services for residents.”

When asked by cllr Rafiq Raja if they have a “sufficiently robust plan B or plan C should things go pear-shaped” at a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday evening, cllr Watson said it was “difficult to answer with certainty.”

He said: “We have a degree of contingency which is hopefully enough. If we go beyond the contingency, beyond the amounts we are planning to put in the revenue development reserve then indeed there are risks but there are also opportunities we can look at.

“I am confident that in the year ahead this is a sufficiently robust budget for most eventualities but I can’t predict the future with any certainty.”

The proposals agreed by the Cabinet will be decided at a full council meeting on February 25.