Here in West Berkshire the new financial year is set to start on a sound financial platform due to a Conservative administration in prudent financial control.
Whilst many Councils (a recent survey suggests 53%) will budget for the coming year on the maximum local taxation achievable, 1.99% Council Tax and 3% Adult Social Care, here in West Berkshire we take a very different view.
Lynne Doherty, Leader at West Berkshire Council said,
“As we come to the setting of the Council’s budget for 2021/22 we are mindful of the tremendous challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has presented to our residents. Not only may they have experienced bereavement or illness but also reduced income and job loss.
Therefore we want to be as wise and efficient as we can when spending on Council Services. This means only taking what is required to meet the needs of our residents, fulfilling our commitment to care for the most vulnerable and investing in those areas of our Council Strategy that we know are important to residents and ensure West Berkshire remains a great place to live”.
Ross Mackinnon, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Finance said,
“We have worked to ensure that this Budget provides a fine balance between affordability, core infrastructure and new investment to support our council strategies.
Although councils have been given the option to increase Council Tax by 5%, we have chosen to increase it by only 1.99% by not seeking an Adult Social Care precept. The decreased demand for this service due to Covid-19, alongside the extensive financial support from central government and the continued strong financial control of the Council means we are able to support our residents’ finances as well as investing in vital services.”
The Council will be asked to consider on the 2nd of March the 2021-22 Revenue Budget, which proposes a Council Tax requirement of £104.32m, requiring a Council Tax increase of 1.99%.
The Council Tax increase will raise £2.04m.
Key investments outlined in the budget include;
- £12.5m investment in our Environment Strategy which includes a local, council owned Solar Farm
- £900k to introduce separate food waste collections
- £40m investment in our People Directorate with a focus on Education projects
- £11.9m for the Highways improvement programme
- £500k allocated from Community Infrastructure Levy(CIL) to fund 16 community bids for improvements, including a new Multi Use Community Hub in Calcot, a pond restoration in East Ilsley and several new and enhanced community halls