DCSIMG

Tax hike of at least 4% backed by more than half of respondents to council consultation

Bucks County Council

Bucks County Council

More than half of Bucks residents would support a county council tax rise of at least 4%, according to consultation results.

Polls conducted by Bucks County Council and MORI ahead of the 2014/15 budget discussions showed 37% of respondents would support a 4% tax hike and 18.5% a 5% rise.

People were also asked what services they would be willing to see cut, with high speed broadband the second most popular choice.

The council is spending £3.7 million rolling out fibre-optic broadband across the county, with leader Martin Tett a big supporter of the project.

Mr Tett said he was not deterred by the consultation responses on broadband.

He said: “When I spoke to the officers about this, they said what tends to happen is areas that have got it, which is about 70%, don’t think the council should spend much more money on it. For those people that don’t have it, it’s still a very high priority.”

The results, including the council tax hike, will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday. Mr Tett said he was surprised by how many people backed an increase of more than 2%. A higher percentage of people surveyed by MORI, which did telephone research, supported the larger increases than in the council survey, which was done online, via post and at train stations.

Mr Tett said: “The dilemma is whether the results from MORI would be a good indicator of the way people would vote in a referendum.”

A referendum must be held if a council tax rise of 2% or more is proposed. If the council goes with the 2% option, the rise will actually be by about 1.9% to avoid this.

The survey also showed people would be more willing to cut adult learning courses, street lighting and drug and alcohol misuse services. People wanted day centres to support older, disabled or vulnerable people, road maintenance and management and services protecting vulnerable children to be spared cuts.

 

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