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Council tax rise set to be voted through tonight

Councillors will also decide whether to make more cuts to services to balance books

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Council tax set to rise by four per cent from April

A DECISION on whether to increase council tax by almost five per cent will be made at a meeting tonight (Thursday).

West Berkshire Council needs to make savings of £8m in 2017/18 and has come up with a proposed budget in order to achieve it.

It includes increasing parking charges in the council-run car parks in Newbury, Thatcham, Theale, Hungerford and Pangbourne. 

On-street parking could also be introduced near Thatcham Station.

Children over the age of 16 with special educational needs and disabilities may be asked to pay £703 to get the bus to school – a service that is currently free.

Funding to Citizens Advice is also set to be slashed by almost a third.

Funding for road safety and highways and drainage maintenance is proposed to be cut by reducing the number of road safety officers from two to one. 

Around £1m is set to be cut from frontline services – those which impact residents – while the remainder is expected to be found from internal redundancies and the council tax rise.

The Conservative-run council will also decide where it will allocate £1.4m of transitional funding.

It received the money from central government as a way of softening the cuts and allowing organisations affected more time to adjust.

The opposing Liberal Democrat group is expected to put forward three amendments.

Lib Dem leader Lee Dillon said: “To consider making cuts in drainage maintenance, when so many people have been affected by flooding, is negligent.

“We are proposing that the council takes some of the transitional funding it is planning to put back into reserves and use it to stop the cuts to drainage maintenance instead.”

The Lib Dems are also proposing to reduce the parking increase on the first hour by 10p, with the shortfall being met by increasing the costs on some longer stay options.

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Article comments

  • Ihavenonickname

    02/03/2017 - 17:05

    So it more of 'pay more get less' under the Tories! Guess it's still not hurting enough to get this shower out of power.

    Reply

    • NewburyLad

      02/03/2017 - 21:09

      Simple question - How much MORE £££ are YOU (ihavenonickname) willing to pay in council tax per month? - another 20% more? 40% more? 65% more? - If you don't want to pay any extra then tell us what services you would then cut or stop completely to balance the books?

      Reply

  • paulGT11

    02/03/2017 - 12:12

    I appreciate that the government is squeezing the budgets of Local councils, but making the public pay is not the answer either. the more you cut services, the more the public will need to depend on people like the Citizen's Advice Bureau, but they are cutting that as well. CAB should come under Social Care which is the hot topic for councils at the moment. WBC should get all their staff in one place and get rid of the other buildings (for their ACTUAL value) and the land should be sold or converted to social housing developments. Get rid of the multitude of middle management and make the top levels of management earn their high-end salaries by actually doing some work for a change instead of just increasing the council tax so their salaries can be increased by 10% a year.

    Reply

  • Millers

    Millers

    02/03/2017 - 09:09

    Apart from the main council offices in Market Street WBC use three other sites in Newbury - Merchant House, West Street House and York House. There was also discussion about moving their main offices to the old Bayer site. If they want to save money they should be combining all their sites into one or rent space in the town hall. They should also reduce the number of councillors.

    Reply

  • newsouls

    02/03/2017 - 09:09

    I beg you not to increase it anymore. This year we paid £198 for10 months. We are barely afford it. neither of our salaries have increased for years. We are being squeezed at every angle. i work too and from work to keep my costs really low. I have two children and work 25 hrs a week anymore i would have to pay for childcare. Please look at the bigger picture. Also change the installments to be over 12 months to give families a fight chance.

    Reply

    • Gorbuck

      02/03/2017 - 09:09

      You can pay over 12 installments but may need to be paying by direct debit. Suggest you call the council tax enquiries 519520.

      Reply

      • newsouls

        02/03/2017 - 12:12

        i tried that last year and i was told one lump sum or ten months only. Will try again when the next bill comes through , I do my payments direct debt already

        Reply

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