Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Council agrees tax rise and £5m cuts

COUNCIL tax for residents of Wokingham borough will rise by 1.9 per cent for the first time in three years.

COUNCIL tax for residents of Wokingham borough will rise by 1.9 per cent for the first time in three years.

From April 1, people with an average band D property will pay £1,222.50 a year, a rise of 45p per week.

Wokingham Borough Council says it has to save £6million over the next year, to counteract the 10.3 per cent reduction in its government grant. A further £5million in support will be lost over the next two years.

Some savings are likely to come from staff reductions, which will save £500,000 a year over the next three years.

Council leader David Lee said he didn’t take pleasure in increasing council tax.

“We would love to reduce it but it would be very short-sighted and we would pay for it in the future,” he said. “The country is in a bad state and we have to rise to the challenge.”

The council has outlined education, infrastructure and housing as its key priorities for the next three years.

Around £13million will be spent on improving the borough’s primary school provision, in addition to the £11million already provided in this year’s budget.

The money will be used to create an additional 150 school places at six school locations, including Charvil.

Councillor Lee said: “This budget is not just based on cutting costs, it’s about planning for the future.”

“We would love to reduce it but it would be very short-sighted and we would pay for it in the future,” he said. “The country is in a bad state and we have to rise to the challenge.”

The council has outlined education, infrastructure and housing as its key priorities for the next three years.

Around £13million will be spent on improving the borough’s primary school provision, in addition to the £11million already provided in this year’s budget.

The money will be used to create an additional 150 school places at six school locations, including Charvil.

Councillor Lee said: “This budget is not just based on cutting costs, it’s about planning for the future.”

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