Tax freeze and roads investment backed by county council

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A third successive council tax freeze has today (Monday) been backed by Bucks County Council cabinet members.

Councillors also approved investing £25 million in road repairs over the next two years and protecting grants to the voluntary sector.

The council’s new strategic plan, the blueprint for service provision until 2017, was also given the green light.

A £14.4 million reduction in Government funding has forced the council to make savings in certain areas and introduce new service charges, such as for home to school transport. But it said freezing council tax was the ‘centrepiece’ of its 2013/14 budget plans.

Council leader Martin Tett said: “Achieving a balanced budget was incredibly challenging but I believe it’s the best solution we could have reached given the situation we are in.”

The strategic plan prioritises key areas, including giving people more say in local services, improving transport networks, protecting the county’s environment and ensuring Bucks has a thriving economy.

Mr Tett said: “Our new strategic plan sets out our vision and key priorities against this backdrop, and I am grateful to the record numbers of people that contributed through the recent consultation to help us make sure that our spending reflects the needs and priorities of the local population.”

Following today’s meeting there will be further consultation on the proposals with the public, the business community and others. There will also be a review by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee between January 15 and 17. The final decisions will be taken at full council on February 14.

Recently, Aylesbury Vale District Council cabinet members voted to introduce a 2% council tax hike, while town councillors say they want to freeze council tax for 2013/14.