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Council looks at ways to generate extra income

Money-making ideas investigated by local authority

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Council tax set to rise by four per cent from April

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.  

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Article comments

  • Darrin666

    26/01/2017 - 09:09

    How bringing in a congestion charge, make parking more expensive, making a cars and pedestrians to pay to cross all the bridges and charging for the oxygen that we breathe. ,

    Reply

  • grumpy

    25/01/2017 - 09:09

    This is a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted ?? They shouldn't have given away prime land to developers for free !!! :-(

    Reply

    • Oldmoaner

      25/01/2017 - 11:11

      I totally agree they could have developed Market Street themselves and we would all benefit from the rent. Now they have given huge profits to Mr Rachman welcome to 1960. How about having council run services instead of pouring vast profits into contractors. Oh that might need real managers who know what work is.

      Reply

    • Bombey

      25/01/2017 - 11:11

      It wasn't given away - WBC are in partnership with the several developers - WBC contribution being the land.

      Reply

      • PhilW

        25/01/2017 - 13:01

        In a partnership that gains them nothing while the developer reaps the profits..

        Reply

    • EugeneStryker

      25/01/2017 - 11:11

      . . . and if they wanted to give the land away for free, why not to a Community Land Trust or similar and then all of the housing could be made 'affordable'. I wish that Newbury was known for leaders with a bit of imagination. I do wonder whether there would be the same level of resistance to new housing developments if the developments weren't simply Bloorhome identikits of everywhere else. In relation to the article, given a budget of £116.9m I bet that there are greater savings to made through better procurement, rather than slashing services and jobs.

      Reply

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