Council tax likely to rise as council reveals draft budget proposals

The Royal Borough’s cabinet is set to consider its draft budget proposals for the coming year at next week’s meeting ahead of public consultation – which provisionally set out a balanced budget.

Among the proposals are plans to increase council tax by the maximum of 4.99 per cent, which would include a general increase of 2.99 per cent and an additional 2 per cent for funding adult social care.

RBWM finance lead councillor Lynne Jones said: “The council’s financial position remains challenging and continues to require tough decisions.

“The focus from cabinet and hard work done by officers over the past few months means that we are now in a position to present a balanced budget for next year.”

However, the final funding position from government will not be know until later in the month.

Proposals put forward in the draft budget include £13m in capital investments in the borough’s infrastructure, which would include pothole repairs, school maintenance and improvements to energy efficiency.

It also includes increased spending on adult social care, which could see an extra £5.7m under the proposals, as well as investment into children’s services and £400,000 of temporary accommodation funding.

This comes amid ongoing financial pressures on the council, which has instituted a spending control panel to monitor non-essential expenditures.

The officers’ report set to be brought before cabinet cites historically low council tax rates, low reserve levels, high inflation and interest rate rises as among the financial problems facing the authority.

Councillor Jones added: “This is an important step, but there is still much more to do. There is no quick fix for historic decisions taken around council tax, high debt, and low reserves, which have weakened the organisation’s resilience.

“However, the council is still spending almost £100m delivering services next year, increasing adults and children’s budgets to meet rising costs and demand, plus investing in critical infrastructure.

“We are fully committed to achieving financial stability, to ensuring that our most vulnerable residents receive high quality care, and to delivering for the people and places of our borough.”

The draft budget proposals will be discussed by councillors on Wednesday, December 13.

Slough Observer | News