Wed, 25 Jan 2017
WEST Berkshire Council has committed itself to carrying out an in-depth review into how it can raise more money.
The council’s resources select committee met on Tuesday to discuss setting up a task group to look at how best to generate extra income.
In a report circulated to councillors it says: “The purpose of this scrutiny report is to understand what other local authorities are doing currently to generate income and whether these examples could be implemented in West Berkshire.”
It adds: “Finding new ways to generate income are necessary to address the shortfall in all council budgets across the country.
“Lessons can be learnt from other authorities that have already successfully implemented income-generating proposals.”
Aylesbury Vale District Council has generated extra income in a variety of different ways, including via an online community lottery.
Elsewhere, Camden Council is making money by providing a wi-fi network in areas of high footfall.
And Manchester City Council has boosted its funds through a major roadside advertising contract.
In a report compiled by Localis – an independent think-tank dedicated to issues related to local government and localism – it says councils need to change the way they think about raising money.
The report, entitled Commercial Councils: The rise of entrepreneurialism in local government, which was circulated to councillors, says: “Local government is facing a perfect storm.
“The combination of austerity – in the form of falling central government grants – and rising demand, in particular from ageing local populations, is bringing to the fore questions about the long-term viability of the services councils provide.
“The future funding of local authorities seems to be at best unpredictable, but what is certain is that new thinking is needed to revolutionise the way local authorities operate both to protect and improve services for their communities.
“Many councils are already doing an excellent job in exploring these commercial spheres to mitigate against the pressures, but this report recognises that more needs to be done.
“One of the key ways of doing this is allowing councils to earn their own way by acting more commercially where they can.”
Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North) requested the scrutiny review last year.