Community

Cabinet announces ‘incredibly difficult’ budget proposals

Cabinet announces ‘incredibly difficult’ budget proposals

Cabinet today has announced its budget proposals for the next financial year starting in April, which includes plans for a 1.99% increase in basic council tax, together with a 2% rise in the Government proposed Adult Social Care Precept to help fund care for the elderly and vulnerable.

Described as ‘incredibly difficult’, the billion pound plans focus primarily on next year. This is due to the uncertainties over future funding levels given the on-going effects of the coronavirus pandemic and comes the day after a third lockdown was announced by the Government.

Cabinet’s proposals, which factor in the increasing demand for services and loss of income to the council as a result of the pandemic, are being seen as a ‘Covid-19 response and recovery’ budget. However, the proposals also include investment in key service areas such as schools and school improvement, road maintenance, strategic transport and infrastructure projects, waste, housing and homelessness and leisure centres. A small amount of the council’s reserves (£115k) is also planned to be used to help balance the books and reduce future identified risks.

Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Leader of the Council, Martin Tett said the pandemic was having a momentous effect on budget planning. “While we are grateful for the significant Government grants we are getting to cope with the effects of the virus, it remains incredibly difficult to deliver a legally balanced budget. Yesterday’s lockdown announcement just highlights the uncertainty and the difficulty of knowing what’s round the next corner.

“That said, we believe these proposals are realistic, flexible, and most importantly, affordable to local taxpayers given the circumstances. Indeed, the Government proposes councils increase the amount they raise specifically for Adult Social Care by 3%, however, while there remains acute pressures in adult social care, we believe that this would not be reasonable given the pressure on residents’ finances as a result of Covid. We are therefore proposing only to increase this by 2%, rather than the 3% allowed by Government.

“While I see this as a budget that manages current pressures, it’s also a budget that paves the way for longer term economic recovery post-Covid, which invests in infrastructure and also puts us firmly in the starting blocks to help rebuild Buckinghamshire and importantly jobs, after the pandemic ends.”

The proposals will now go on to be fully scrutinised next week by a special cross-party Budget Select Committee. Their findings will be presented to Cabinet on 16 February so Cabinet members can agree the final budget proposals to be presented to the full Council at its meeting on 24 February.

Live Life Well – free online healthy lifestyle workshops

Live Life Well – free online healthy lifestyle workshops to get 2021 off to the right start
The New Year is nearly here – and that means many of us will be thinking about making some lifestyle changes to improve our physical and mental health in 2021.

And now that Buckinghamshire is currently in Tier 4 restrictions, it is more important than ever that we take care of ourselves.

To help people make better lifestyle choices and make them stick, a series of free online sessions – Live Life Well – have been developed by NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in partnership with Bucks Adult Learning.

Running in January, they are packed with healthy lifestyle information and tips – and you can secure a place on them now.

Each session will give useful advice on keeping well – through a sensible diet, physical activity, and by recognising stress and anxiety.  They also let you set personal goals to help you achieve these changes.

Dr Stuart Logan, Clinical Director for Long Term Conditions, Prevention & Supported Self-Care at NHS Buckinghamshire CCG, said: “Many of us want to make better lifestyle choices as part of our New Year’s resolutions, but sticking to them is easier said than done. These online sessions are designed to help people make better choices by giving them the right information.

“It has been a really hard year for all of us, and, although the COVID vaccine is being rolled out, we still have difficult weeks and months ahead. Making the right choices for our physical and mental health can make a huge difference, and we hope as many people as possible sign up for these online sessions to give them a better start to 2021.”

The sessions are listed below. They run during the day and the evening, and you can attend one or all three.

To enrol, call 01296 383582, stating which course code you would like to attend.

  • Recognising Stress & Anxiety

Tuesday 12 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH05AHO) or
Thursday 14 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH04AHO)

  • Reflect and describe the connection between stress and the body’s response to it
  • Give in your own words what triggers stress and find ways to manage it
  • Experience a relaxation session
  • Eating for Health

Tuesday 19 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH06AHO) or
Thursday 21 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH07AHO)

  • Recognise what constitutes a good diet
  • Summarise the important food groups and sources
  • Give examples of what makes a healthy diet
  • The Importance of Physical Activity for your Health & Wellbeing

Tuesday 26 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH08AHO) or
Thursday 28 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH09AHO)

  • Specify the benefits of being physically active
  • Recognise the detrimental effect on health by being physically inactive
  • Identify what is meant by ‘physical activity’

Buckinghamshire to rise to Tier 4 – the highest level – from midnight on 20th December.

Buckinghamshire to move into Tier 4 – the highest level – from midnight on 20th December


This means:

  • London, the South East and parts of eastern England are moving into a new tier-four level of restrictions
  • From midnight, residents in tier four must stay at home, with limited exceptions. Non-essential retail, gyms and personal care centres must close. Hospitality venues are already closed under tier three rules
  • Household mixing indoors is banned – people can meet one another person from another household in an outdoor space only
  • Travel into and out of tier four is not allowed, unless essential
  • The “support bubbles” for adults living alone will continue
  • The planned relaxation of Covid rules for Christmas has been scrapped for tier four areas
  • For the rest of England, the rules allowing three households to meet will be reduced to Christmas Day only
  • The new rules follow evidence that a new variant of the virus is spreading fast in the areas moved into tier four
  • The new variant is responsible for an increase in hospitalisations, but there is no evidence to suggest it causes a more severe disease than the old variant or will be resistant to vaccines

Boris Johnson says he made the decision with a “heavy heart” but “when the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defence”

Prof Whitty says it is important people in tier four areas don’t travel so they don’t spread the variant to other parts of the UK

Sir Patrick says that while this is a “horrible moment, it is controllable and there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccinations having started”

The Tier 4 rules in full:

  1. You should stay at home except for specific reasons including education, work (if it can’t be done from home), exercise, medical needs, food and other essential shopping and to provide care.
  2. You should not mix socially indoors, or in a private garden, with anyone who is not part of your household or support bubble. (A support bubble is when a person living alone or with children under 18 joins another household).
  3. You can meet one other person at a time from another household in an outdoor public place (such as a park, a street, the countryside, an allotment or a children’s playground).
  4. Children can continue to move between homes if their parents are separated.

Going to work
You should work at home if possible.
If you have to return to your workplace, your employer must make arrangements for you to work safely.

Schools and nurseries
Primary and secondary schools can open, as can nurseries and childcare.
If a school has coronavirus cases, local health protection teams will advise what to do.
All pupils and staff in secondary schools (Year 7 and above) must wear face coverings in communal areas outside the classroom.

Leisure time
Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes are closed, except for takeaways.
There is no limit on the time allowed for exercise outdoors or, for example, for sitting on a park bench or eating and drinking outside.
Leisure facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts are all closed.
Entertainment venues including theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, are all closed.
Hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites are closed except in certain circumstances (such as where they are someone’s the main residence, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes).

Shopping
All non-essential shops must close.
Close contact services, such as hairdressing or beauty salons must close.

Other
You are not allowed to stay overnight away from your home, whether on holiday, in a second home, or with anyone, you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.
You are not allowed to travel outside your tier four area.
You are not allowed to travel abroad, unless for exceptional reasons.
Places of worship remain open for communal services.

Christmas rules
You are not allowed to form a Christmas bubble with other households. Until the situation with local shops and businesses is clearer we strongly suggest you check with the owners before even considering a visit.

For more information and to access local resources please visit Coronavirus support and information | Buckinghamshire Council 

Stay safe this Christmas

Stay safe this Christmas​

Given the significant rise in recent COVID-19 figures, Buckinghamshire Council is reminding all residents to stay safe this Christmas as the government relaxes some of the social contact restrictions, between 23 and 27 December. During this time, you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas Bubble’ with up to three households; however, the council would like to remind all Buckinghamshire residents that doing so is a personal choice and must always be balanced against the increased risk of contracting or spreading the infection.

The Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, Martin Tett, said: “It’s only natural that at Christmas we want to be with our family and friends. However, it is important to remember the pandemic is still on the rise. We all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and those we love safe. I would therefore ask everyone to consider carefully whether forming a ‘Christmas bubble’ is in fact the right thing for you.

I really don’t want to be the ‘Christmas Grinch’ but we should all now be thinking ‘just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.’ Our Christmas celebrations need to look different this year to help stop the virus spreading further. I hope that even with these changes, everyone can still have a wonderful Christmas at home this year.”

If you do choose to create a ‘Christmas Bubble’, please consider taking extra precautions such as: making sure rooms get as much fresh air as possible, keep your social distance and avoid sharing household items such as towels, cutlery and glasses.

And remember these four very important rules on creating a ‘Christmas Bubble’:

·        You can only be in one Christmas Bubble

·        You cannot change your Christmas Bubble

·        Your exclusive Christmas Bubble should not include people from more than three households

·        You cannot form a Christmas Bubble if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are self-isolating

For more information visit GOV.UK: making a Christmas bubble with friends and family

If anyone experiences symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, they must stay at home and book a test through GOV.UK: get a coronavirus test or call 119. Anyone they live with should isolate as well. Symptoms include a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change in their sense of taste or smell. Local test centres are now available in Aylesbury and High Wycombe.

Find out more about the guidance on how to stay safe and protect Bucks.

Do you, or does someone you know, need a ‘Helping Hand’ over the Christmas holidays? If anyone is worried about food or warmth, and is not sure what help is available, they can call Buckinghamshire Council on 01296 531 151, Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5:30pm, Friday, 9am to 5pm.   Or fill in our contact us form (using the Helping Hand option): Contact the council | Buckinghamshire Council

Weekly roadworks update

Weekly roadworks update

During the course of next week until 23rd December, Transport for Buckinghamshire will be carrying out work at the following locations as part of the Strategic Highway Maintenance Programme.

The schemes are part of a rolling programme of countywide work. As some activities are weather dependent, dates may change at short notice.

Please note: No planned works will take place between Thursday 24th December and Sunday 3rd January 2021

Footway Structural Repair Programme

Cottesloe Road, Aylesbury – Churchill Avenue to Clover Lane (Monday 21st December to Wednesday 23rd December)

Footway improvement works using localised traffic management in operation between 7:30am and 4:30pm

Main Road, Walters Ash – Burdett Drive to Ash Road (Monday 21st December to Wednesday 23rd December)

Footway improvement works using localised traffic management in operation between 9:30am and 4:30pm

Bealings End and Berkley Road, Knotty Green – various locations along length of footway (Monday 21st December to Wednesday 23rd December)

Footway improvement works using localised traffic management in operation between 7:30am and 4:30pm

Drainage Improvement Schemes

Missenden Road/Wey Lane/Church Street, Chesham (Monday 21st December to Wednesday 23rd December)

Cable and pipe relocation work close to culvert using a road closure in operation 24/7.

Haw Lane, Saunderton – railway bridge (Monday 21st December to Tuesday 22nd December)

Drainage improvement works using a road closure in operation between 8:00am and 5:00pm   

Residents asked to reduce and recycle this Christmas

Over the festive season, we produce around 30% more waste* than at any other time of the year. To help prevent a season of waste, Buckinghamshire Council is asking its recycling-savvy residents to reduce, reuse and recycle this festive period.

From food to gift shopping, the increase in consumption over the festive season will result in Buckinghamshire Council collecting almost a third more household waste over December and January than at any other time of the year. The numbers associated with festive season waste are staggering; over one billion cards will be sent, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper used, and 17.2 million sprouts thrown in the bin.

To help prevent a season of waste, take a look at these three easy tips which can help residents celebrate sustainably this year:

1. Spread festive cheer online: E-cards and e-vouchers can brighten a loved one’s day, without generating any waste. Residents can purchase them online from the safety of their home and avoid unnecessary paper waste whilst sending (virtual) merriness.

2. Order online in one go: If you are buying physical presents online or treating yourself in the Boxing Day/January sales, try and plan to make one delivery per store. This will reduce packaging waste, some of which like bubble wrap and polystyrene cannot be recycled. It will also reduce the number of vehicles on the road, easing traffic congestion and decreasing the amount of harmful emissions that have a detrimental effect on air quality.

3. Plan your feast: 70% of us readily admit that we buy far more food than we need over the festive period. Don’t add to the mountains of food waste unnecessarily generated at this time of year and only buy for those you are sharing the day with.

Preventing unnecessary waste over the festive period is essential to reducing Buckinghamshire’s environmental impact. However, where waste is unavoidable, residents are encouraged to make the most of Buckinghamshire Council’s recycling service. At a time when homes are likely to be overflowing with wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and empty bottles of festive fizz, please help reduce your waste and find out what can and cannot be recycled by visiting our online Waste Wizard.

Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Cllr Bill Chapple OBE, said:

“With the giving and receiving of presents and many families looking forward to spending time with loved ones – whether that’s virtually or as part of a Christmas bubble – the festive season is a vital time to make sure we are all playing our part to reduce, reuse and recycle. Buckinghamshire is full of great recyclers, so please keep up the good work this December and into the new year too. And of course, Merry Christmas!

“I would like to extend a thank you to all of our hardworking Buckinghamshire Council, Veolia UK and Biffa collection crews, as well as the teams at the Household Recycling Centres, who will continue to work over the Christmas holidays to collect our recycling and waste. Please remember to check the revised schedule for your collections over the festive period.”

For further information on local recycling and waste services, including any changes to your collection days over the festive period, take a look at our guidance on Recycling and Waste this Christmas.

*https://www.gwp.co.uk/guides/christmas-packaging-facts/

TfB’s winter service continues throughout Buckinghamshire

 

Although this winter things are slightly different, one thing remains the same: our winter service!

With the winter period now well underway, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) gritters are regularly out and about on our 25 pre-selected priority routes to keep them safe and useable, whatever the weather. With 10,500 tonnes of salt stashed away ready to be used between now and April, it’s safe to say that our winter service delivery teams are well prepared!

Daily decisions are made about whether or not gritting is required, based on the local weather forecasts and road temperatures, which are always a few degrees cooler than air temperatures. If it looks like the road temperatures are going to fall below 0.5 degrees centigrade, the gritters will be sent out to salt the roads and keep the travelling public safe.

Despite gritting taking place when the temperatures drop, there is never any guarantee that the roads will remain clear of ice and snow. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as needing to wait for rain to clear before gritting, as it cannot be applied in wet weather, or if temperatures drop severely, causing the salt to become less effective.

This year, in addition to the usual routes, we will also be gritting at Covid Test Centre locations, as well as installing grit bins at the test and vaccine centres, ensuring that everybody who needs to access them can do so safely during the winter months.

TfB shares daily gritting updates on social media, accompanied with adorable animal photos that are sure to make you smile! Make sure you follow them @tfbalerts – or for more serious updates, minus the animal photos, follow @twitgritter.

Buckinghamshire Council Transport Cabinet Member, Nick Naylor, said:

“It’s during the winter service that TfB really shine. It’s been an odd year for everyone, but I am proud of the work that has continued regardless from TfB. Whilst many of us will be enjoying Christmas festivities as best we can during these testing times, please spare a thought for our winter crews who will be on call 24/7 – even over Christmas – keeping the roads clear and serviceable, not just for us, but for key workers too. If you see them out and about, be sure to give them a wave!”

Severe Winter Emergency Protocol

As the weather turns very cold Buckinghamshire Council are cascading messages on their social media channels in relation to homelessness. The Council is still operating over the winter under ‘Everyone In’ scheme due to the Covid19 pandemic and so ‘SWEP’ will effectively operate over the winter until 31 March 2021. As such there is no need for anyone to sleep outside over the winter.

If you see anyone sleeping out on the streets of Buckinghamshire, please contact StreetLink via http://streetlink.org.uk or phone 0300 500 0914, who will notify dedicated Outreach workers. If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough please call 999.

During Office hours you can contact Buckinghamshire Council’s housing teams on the following numbers:

Aylesbury Vale: 01296 585168

Chiltern and South Bucks: 01494 732013

Wycombe: 01494 421212

Weekly roadworks update

Weekly roadworks update

During the course of next week, Transport for Buckinghamshire will be carrying out work at the following locations as part of the Strategic Highway Maintenance Programme.

The works are part of a rolling programme of countywide work. As some activities are weather dependent, dates may change at short notice. Weekend working will only take place where specifically mentioned.

Conventional Surfacing Programme

Station Road/Aylesbury End, Beaconsfield – London End to 2nd entrance on Grove Road (Monday 7th December to Tuesday 15th December)

Carriageway surfacing works using a road closure in operation between 7:30am and 6:00pm

Crown Road, Marlow – Cambridge Road to Klondyke (Monday 7th December to Tuesday 8th December)

Carriageway surfacing works using a road closure in operation between 7:00am and 7:00pm

Riley Road, Marlow – Oxford Road to Crown Road (Tuesday 8th December to Thursday 10th December)

Carriageway surfacing works using a road closure in operation between 7:00pm and 6:00am

Micro Surfacing Programme

Boundary Road, High Wycombe – various locations along length of road (Monday 7th December)

Carriageway iron works using a road closure in operation between 7am and 7pm

Bracken Way, Flackwell Heath – various locations along length of road (Tuesday 8th December)

Carriageway iron works using localised traffic management in operation between 7am and 7pm

Willows Road, Bourne End – various locations along length of road (Tuesday 8th December)

Carriageway iron works using localised traffic management in operation between 7am and 7pm

Lock Road, Marlow –  various locations along length of road (Wednesday 9th December to Saturday 12th December)

Carriageway iron works using localised traffic management in operation between 7:00am and 7:00pm with a road closure in operation between 7am and 7:00pm on Friday 11th December

Footway Structural Repair Programme

Cottesloe Road, Aylesbury – Churchill Avenue to Clover Lane (Monday 7th December to Wednesday 23rd December)

Footway improvement works using localised traffic management in operation between 7:30am and 4:30pm

Main Road, Walters Ash – Burdett Drive to Ash Road (Monday 7th December to Wednesday 23rd December)

Footway improvement works using localised traffic management in operation between 9:30am and 4:30pm

Bealings End and Berkley Road, Knotty Green – various locations along length of footway (Monday 7th December to Wednesday 23rd December)

Footway improvement works using localised traffic management in operation between 7:30am and 4:30pm

Drainage Improvement Schemes

Missenden Road/Wey Lane/Church Street, Chesham (Monday 7th December to Wednesday 23rd December)

Cable and pipe relocation work close to culvert using a road closure in operation 24/7