Mon, 27 Nov 2017
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.