Council approves £10m cuts

Children's centres to close and council tax to rise after crucial budget vote last night

Dan Cooper


Dan Cooper


01635 886632

Council approves £10m cuts

THERE will be council tax rises, redundancies and devastating cuts to public services after West Berkshire Council overwhelming approved plans to cut £10m from its 2016/17 budget.

It means that four children’s centres and one care home will close, while the cost of 40 CCTV cameras and two public toilets will be transferred to town and parish councils.

Funding for public transport, roads maintenance and home to school transport will be reduced, while car parking charges across the district will also rise.

There will also be huge reductions in the amount of funding the council provides for organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Council leader Roger Croft said the decision to accept the proposals was made with “a heavy heart”, but told his fellow councillors there was simply “no alternative”.

He added: “None of us got into politics to cut services.”

Before the meeting, campaigners had demonstrated outside the council’s Market Street offices (see video below), holding up banners and placards urging a rethink of the proposals.

Hilary Cole, the council’s portfolio holder for housing and leisure, said during the meeting: “Never in my imaginings did I ever think I would be stood here presenting these proposals.

"We are not heartless. We do realise the impact it will have on our residents. There's been a lot of heart and soul searching on this."

The council’s deputy leader, Graham Jones added: “I have never been in such a difficult meeting where we are going to make such difficult decisions."

A public consultation is underway on the second round of cuts proposals, which includes closing eight of the district’s nine libraries and slashing funding for theatres and buses.

The consultation will close on March 7 and the proposals voted on by full council on March 24.

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Article comments

  • Solonge

    02/03/2016 - 20:08

    Well these councillors better get shot of their 'company cars' I understand there are Audi's and Jaguars....if we are to be denied...and they have awarded themselves a pay rise of 16.5% there had better be some sacrifces from them. Frankly I am looking to find those that have cost us, the local taxpayers, money. The idiots who have given away land for free that should have been sold, the idiot who didn't put in a claim for restitution for Victoria Park in time. The Council Officers who 'misled' the council and thereby are costing us tens of thousands of pounds. Frankly I think a group of sixth formers from St Barts could do a much better job than the councillors we have at present. The Tories...the party of business....they cant even sell land to developers in Newbury...they give it away...some businessmen! what a shower.


  • jb_007uk


    02/03/2016 - 18:06

    Had they made cost of living increases to the council tax over the past 10 years then the burden would have been small and there would by not have been the need to make the considerable cuts they have already made in addition to these latest ones..... So I'm sorry, but with this current administrations record then they went into public service with cuts to public service in mind..... Except cuts to their own salary which they have put up this financial year by 16.9%......


  • beccc

    02/03/2016 - 14:02

    what is sad is that there is no foresight into these decisions. in years to come there will be dismay about how there is rising obesity, social disturbance from youths who have not had the support they need to be securely entertained or educated, people who are suffering because they have not been able to access the healthcare they need, social isolation for those who rely on public transport... the list goes on. think ahead, not for now. it's not rocket science.



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