BCC budget newsletter March 2019

Local news brought to you by Buckinghamshire County CouncilView this email in your browserBuckinghamshire County Council News  Welcome to our ‘budget update special’ local newsletterLast week county councillors approved the 130th and last ever County Council budget before the new unitary Buckinghamshire Council comes into being next year, on 1 April 2020.
 
Details of the County Council’s budget for 2019/20
 
For the coming financial year an overall budget of £356.3 million has been set for day-to-day spending, with a budget set for capital spending of £86 million.
 
Along with the majority of other councils across the country, councillors also approved a council tax increase of 2.99%, the equivalent of just 71p a week extra for an average band D property.
 
Our budget plans include more funding for children’s services and adult social care, as well as £21.5 million for roads, which includes some money for early repairs before the start of the new financial year to combat the winter damage.

In addition, extra money should be generated for both the County Council and the district councils as part of a new pilot scheme to allow them to retain 75% of new business rates across the county, rather than the current 50% level.

If you missed our full Council meeting last week you can watch the meeting on webcast. You can also see our full budget papers online.

The new County Council budget at a glance

Our budget infographic is a simple guide that shows how we’ll be dividing up our revenue budget this year.Some of our 2019/20 budget highlights
 
Despite continuing financial pressures, heavy reductions in our funding and increasing demands on our services, the Council is committed to continuing to fund key priorities that are important to residents. These include:
 Rural broadband – spend of £1.8 million over this year and next to help bring faster broadband to our rural areasHS2 mitigation – almost £2.3 million being spent this year to help get the best outcome for residentsSchools – over £35 million being invested in our schools this yearEast West Rail – £1 million contribution to the strategic rail project to connect Oxford to Cambridge, which will bring major benefits for everyone living and working in Buckinghamshire 
Leader of the Council, Martin Tett said it was ‘a moment in history’ to preside over the very last County Council budget: “What Cabinet has agreed is a measured, prudent and sound set of proposals that deliver a robust and balanced budget. Although, there continues to be significant risks and uncertainties going forward, we’re in very good shape overall.
 
“Of course, we’ve had to take and continue to take difficult decisions, but these have allowed us to continue our strong focus on funding the key priorities that residents tell us they want.

“I’m proud of this Council’s continued financial stewardship and the fact that the position we will transfer to the new Council is both sound and sustainable. I’m sure the new Council will appreciate inheriting such a favourable and positive financial standing which will provide a solid base for future service planning.”Continuing our investment in Buckinghamshire’s roads
 
We’re continuing to invest in our roads, pavements and street lighting because we know how important this is to our local communities. Some of the ways we’re doing this are:
 Capital highway maintenance– investment of £15 million per year from 2019/20 to ensure the overall condition of roads improves year on yearAn extra £4.5 million for plane and patch work from now, as well as £2 million for general pothole maintenance to properly repair winter damageOne-off £500,000 spend on sensitive weed control work to tackle damaging and unsightly weed growth in our urban areasGully maintenance funding continuesContinuing to spend £1.5 million on street lights and reducing the number reported as faultyImprovements to Fix My Street so that defects reported by residents can be repaired effectively and in line with Coucil policies Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Transportation, Mark Shaw said the County Council is investing everything it possibly can in maintaining and improving Buckinghamshire’s roads and pavements:
 
“We know how important they are to everyone who lives, works and travels through the county – well-maintained and safe roads are good for our economy and good for the travelling public. However, our roads are amongst the most heavily trafficked in the country which means extra pressure and the need for constant investment, particularly after the many damaging winters we have experienced recently.
 
“On top of the £80m or so we have spent over recent years, we are allocating over £21 million in the coming year specifically to improve road conditions, starting as soon as the weather allows. Spare a thought then if you do get held up at temporary traffic lights or have to take a signed diversion, for why we are busy carrying out roadworks – works that represent a real investment in our road network going forward.”
 A new council for Buckinghamshire 
 
An update on plans for a unitary council from county council Leader Martin Tett 
Latest news from Government
 
We wanted to take this opportunity to give you the latest update from Government on the unitary process to create the new Buckinghamshire Council.

As you may know, there is a Parliamentary process that is taking place to approve the change to the current way local government in Buckinghamshire is structured. There are two parts to this process.
 
Firstly, there is a Regulations Order which puts in place the legislation that enables the change to the current system of local government to be made. This was laid in Parliament on 14 January and following debate in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, has been approved and came into force on Friday 22 February.  These Regulations make a change to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act which paves the way for the Structural Changes Order which, if approved by Parliament, will implement the proposal for a new single unitary council in Buckinghamshire. 
 
The second part of the process then is for Parliament to lay the Structural Changes Order which sets out the detail of how the change in Buckinghamshire will take place and information about the new council. This Order will also be debated in both the Houses of Parliament. We expect this to be laid in the next few weeks and will keep you updated on this.
 
A summary of what the Structural Changes Order will include was shared with you in January.
 The Shadow Authority 
There will be a temporary Shadow Authority (like our Council) and Shadow Executive (like Cabinet) created to oversee the transition to the new council until the members of the Buckinghamshire Council are elected in May 2020.
The Shadow Authority will bring together all current county and district councillors from the five Buckinghamshire councils – 202 members in total.
The Shadow Executive will be made up of 17 county and district elected members and will oversee the work to create the Buckinghamshire Council. Each council will nominate existing elected members to be a part of this group.
The county council have announced their nominees and deputies for the Shadow Authority.  

Shadow Authority county council nominees
Shadow Authority county council deputy nominees

Aylesbury Vale District council have also announced their nominated members and deputies.  

Working with you 

The new unitary council needs to be able to respond to the different needs and issues of local communities across Buckinghamshire.

Town and parish councils have a critical role to play in supporting local communities to thrive and the County Council is committed to working with town and parish councils to ensure that you are actively involved as partners in co-designing the new Buckinghamshire Council.

The original business case for the single unitary council included a set of proposals – see: http://futurebucks.co.uk/communityproposalsexplained/. These proposals aren’t fixed; we want to review these with you taking into account local needs and your thoughts, to find an approach that can be tailored to each local community. 
 
We will be developing a series of events for us to explore this further once the Shadow Authority is formed to create the new council and will keep you updated on plans for this.
 
In the meantime if you have any questions or concerns please get in touch with us at unitarycomms@buckscc.gov.uk
 
To keep up to date with unitary news from the county council you can visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/unitarycouncil