Upgrading: Bucks Council central government funding more than halved in just five years

New data shows that the funding provided by central government to the Bucks Council has more than halved in just five years.

Figures reveal that from the 2015-16 financial year to 2021 government allocated spending has fallen from £116,262,344.5 a year to £54,435,300.

The Bucks Council only became a unitary authority in 2020, but National World combined the funding given to the four district councils before the merger.

Register to our daily newsletter

The newsletter mute the noise

national world photo

Bucks Local Authority ranks 13th of all councils in the UK for the biggest cut in central government funding.

Estimates show it has seen its budget slashed by 53.2 per cent, with the biggest cut cuts seen in West Sussex Council, followed by Hampshire.

Despite a substantial decline in funding over a five-year period at Bucks, the council ranked 143rd in per capita spending cuts.

National World data shows funding has fallen by £113 per person over a five-year period in the county.

National World adjusted the figures for inflation and obtained its data from the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities.

The upgrade white paper was released by Upgrade Secretary Michael Gove last Thursday (February 3).

It is a strategy designed by the government to bridge the gap between rich and poor across the country.

Labor and other groups have criticized the plans for a lack of fresh money.

He also made no mention of what the Institute for Public Policy Research North (IPPR North) think tank describes as the “elephant in the room” on the upgrade – funding advice.

Local authorities in England have endured years of savage budget cuts, which in many areas has resulted in steep increases in council tax rates.

Jonathan Webb, senior researcher at IPPR North think tank, said the central government‘s decade of austerity was “an appalling failure” that “has actively harmed” people.

A commitment to reverse austerity and provide the investments needed to achieve the ‘race to the top’ was missing from this week’s long-awaited white paper,” he said.

“While many of the ambitions set out by the government this week are steps in the right direction, none of them will be achieved without recognition of the failure of austerity and action to reverse it.

“The government should put its money where it is, immediately.”

Councils have three main sources of funding for services: local council tax, business tax and central government grants.

Each year, the government reveals the funding that has been allocated to each council – known as the ‘funding by-law assessment’.

This is made up of Professional Fees (paid locally but sent to central government first for reimbursement) and the ‘Income Support Grant’, a basic funding pot that councils are free to spend on daily services they want.

Some other central government funds come in the form of specific grants, some of which are earmarked and flow directly through councils to their destination, such as the grant for dedicated schools. The government does not include these grants when measuring the overall level of funding received by boards.

Each year councils review their budgets to see how much money they need to provide services. They then subtract what they know they are getting from the government or their own income streams, such as investments.

All that’s left is what they need to raise from council tax – so cuts in public funding can mean big tax hikes for residents to fill the gaps.

The Department of Upgrading, Housing and Communities did not respond to National World’s request for comment.

Comments are closed.