West Berkshire Council

New budget sets out investment for the future

Essential services will be maintained

GRAPHIC: pound sign with two stacks of coins

Issued on: 11 February 2020

West Berkshire Council's proposed Revenue Budget for 2020/21 sets out clear investment in the future of the district.

It includes a council tax increase of 1.99% and a 2% rise in the Adult Social Care (ASC) precept. This will enable the council to deliver the budget with no cuts to services.

Ross Mackinnon, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Finance said, "We never want to increase the tax burden of our residents. However, the increase in Council Tax plus the ASC precept will raise around £4 million of income which means that I can say with confidence that there will be no cuts to services, and that's something to shout about."

 "We'll be investing heavily in the district wherever it is most needed. For example, in schools, care homes, and tackling homelessness. We will be focussed on the continuously improving the environment and will be investing in measures, such as tree planting, to naturally capture and reduce carbon dioxide.

"This budget will not only maintain essential services, but is a massive step forward in ensuring that West Berkshire will continue to be a great place to live, work, visit and learn."

The council is proactively looking at affordable ways to borrow to ensure that important environmental projects can be taken forward. One idea is a 'climate change bond', which would allow communities to invest in environmental schemes receive a small return on their investment.

Key investments outlined in the budget include;

  • Over £7.5million invested this year in new schools and expansion to existing schools (including Highwood Copse, Theale Primary and The Willink School)
  • £1.2million in large scale tree planting
  • Over £10million in improving roads and junctions around the district

The Budget proposal will go before the Council's Executive on 13 February and to Full Council on 3 March 2020.