West Berkshire Council

Budget Proposal for 2016/17 - Phase Two

The second phase of the budget consultations

Phase 2 Budget Proposal Consultations are now closed.

Results will be published following the Full Council Meeting on 24 March 2016 on the relevant page for each consultation. These can be viewed via the links below or through the consultation portal.

Why is there a second phase?

From 3 November to 14 December 2015, we consulted you on the need to make £10.8m of savings in 2016/17. £4.6m of these savings affected frontline services. The consultation generated over 2,500 responses and covered 47 individual budget proposals. Your feedback was considered by the Council's Executive on 11 February and the Full Council will make a final decision on 1 March 2016.

Shortly before Christmas, the Government began a public consultation on local government funding. They proposed to reduce our funding by 44% (Revenue Support Grant). This announcement was totally unexpected. We are required to set our budget on 1 March 2016 and we are now faced with the challenge of finding a total of £18m of savings, whilst also considering increases in Council Tax.  We are therefore consulting on a further £2.1m of public facing budget proposals.

We responded to the Government's consultation, drawing attention to the significant difficulties and challenges that this proposed reduction in funding, and the future approach to funding, will have on us being able to maintain the services we provide. The Government has recently advised us that, having listened to the responses to the consultation, it has decided to give the council an additional grant of just under £1.4m next year and the year after. Whilst this news is welcomed, it will only result in a limited impact on our need to make significant savings.

The council will set its budget on 1 March 2016, but will still be able to adjust these plans afterwards, should it need to.  Once the consultation closes on 7 March 2016 the responses to our proposals will be fully considered.  If any issues are raised, which require a change in our plans, the Executive will consider the feedback and be able to make any necessary decisions.

Whilst we will continue to try and protect the priorities set out in the Council Strategy, the requirement to find even more savings in 2016/17 will mean that, just maintaining the services that are important to you, will be very challenging.

The consultations were open from 15 February until 7 March 2016.

All2gether

Calcot Service Point, Sainsburys

Car Parks

Children's Centres

Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB)

Community Council for Berkshire (CCB)

Community Furniture Project (CFP)

Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART)

Library Service

Public Transport

Smallmead Household Waste Recycling Centre, Island Road

Substance Misuse Support Service (Adults)

Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Licensing

Theatres

West Berkshire Museum

West Berkshire Neighbourhood Wardens Scheme

        

We'll consider all your feedback and a final decision will be made by your councillors at the Full Council Meeting on 24 March 2016. (please note: the date of this meeting has changed from 21 April 2016 and that the decision will now be made by the Full Council, rather than the Executive Members).

The Overview of Responses and Recommendations, Consultation Summary Reports and Verbatim Responses can be found on the individual consultation pages (via the links above). In addition, we received 20 pdf icon general comments on the budget proposals [62kb]: two from Parish Councils and 18 from individuals.

 

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