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West Berkshire Council needs to save £10m next year

Cuts to funding for vulnerable people among the proposals

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Council tax set to rise by four per cent from April

COUNCIL tax could rise and funding for vulnerable residents is set to be cut again as West Berkshire Council looks to make savings of £10m next year.

The majority of the money will be found internally through retendering contracts and making eight positions redundant, however, around £1m is proposed to come directly from cuts to public services.

This includes starting to charge residents for garden waste collections - a service which is curently free.

The annual subscription would be £50 per household - which works out at less than £2 per collection.

The council says that more than half of local authorities already charge for this service and the proposal would generate around £900,000 a year in revenue.

Another proposal is a huge cut to funding for Citizens Advice West Berkshire by a third next year, from £120,000 to £40,000.

The council is also proposing to stop sending planning application notices directly to nearby properties to save around £17,500 a year.

Orange site notices will continue to be clearly displayed in the vicinity of all planning application sites.

The council has been forced to find the money to combat a reduction in central government funding.

No decision or proposal about council tax increases has been made, but if council tax does not go up money will have to be found from elsewhere.

For the last two years it has gone up by 3.99 per cent each year.

The leader of West Berkshire Council, Graham Jones, said: "Every year our communities are asking more from the services we provide but we are receiving less money to provide those services.

"We have looked first at how the council can work differently by becoming more efficient and by working more closely with other local authorities and with our communities.

"Our priority has been to protect those services which support the most vulnerable people in our communities but it's inevitable that there will be an impact on some other services.

"Although we have set out our proposals for next year it's important we give communities the chance to tell us how they will be impacted and what might be done to alleviate the impact of any decisions before we decide how to proceed."

Details of the proposals can be found online at www.westberks.gov.uk/budgetproposals

A public consultation on the proposals is open until Wednesday January 10, with residents being asked to consider how they might be affected and suggest how the impact of these proposals could be reduced.

Over the past eight years West Berkshire Council has had to find savings worth £55m while at the same time responding to an increase in demand for its services.

This is because of a reduction in funding from central government which has seen the Revenue Support Grant (worth £33.7m to the council in 2011/12) fall to just £100,000 in 2018/19.

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Article comments

  • NWNThatcham

    28/11/2017 - 22:10

    Lower wages, higher council taxes, fewer services. Welcome to Tory Britain.

    Reply

    • NewburyLad

      28/11/2017 - 23:11

      It doesn't help continually importing millions of welfare dependant families who immediately upon reaching the UK start using more of the services than their feeble wages can pay for in tax. As for the low wages, well that was created by the Labour party and their policy of importing millions of low paid workers to drive down wages. It was Labour policy from 1997 and unless we leave the EU and permanently seal the border, wages will remain low, with a Tory Britain or a Labour Britain. Get real, Labour would just be worse than the Tories.

      Reply

      • NWNThatcham

        30/11/2017 - 13:01

        Tory policy of paying £50bln to leave the world's largest free trading organisation in order to re-negotiate joining the worlds largest free trading organisation on less favourable terms. Madness. Labour are no better as they are just nodding through the Tory suicidal agenda.

        Reply

  • Browntrout

    28/11/2017 - 11:11

    Mr Benyon - Any comment or plan of action to claw back funding for our council? A reminder - this is how you earn your money and our votes.

    Reply

  • NWNThatcham

    28/11/2017 - 10:10

    The cuts are the inevitable consequence of National Austerity. Its not going to get any better with the recent budget forecasting that Brexit will cost Britain £72billion in lost economic activity annually.That's £1300 million per week. The Conservative policies are ruining this country and Labour is failing to provide any opposition as they just nod through the government position. Before the referendum Britain led in economic growth, now we are near the bottom. MP's and the public should have a vote on the final deal to check its up to scratch, and if its not we have the right to think again.

    Reply

    • Tommy

      08/12/2017 - 10:10

      It's happening, get over it.

      Reply

  • Westberkswalker

    28/11/2017 - 09:09

    The proposed cut to the funding of Citizens Advice West Berkshire is two thirds not a third. That is a massive reduction, particularly when West Berks is about to have Universal Credit rolled out which will undoubtedly generate a large number of requests for help from CAWB.

    Reply

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