06:08PM, Thursday 13 December 2018
The Royal Borough will save £2 million after provisional local government funding was announced for 2019/20.
In a statement published today (Dec 13), the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire announced that ‘negative revenue support grants’ will be abolished.
This relates to the amount of money local authorities – such as the Royal Borough - pay to central government.
Overall, council spending is to increase from £45.1 billion in 2018/19 to £46.4 billion in 2019-20, a cash increase of 2.8 per cent.
Reacting to the news, council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) explained how the extra cash will be spent: “It is good to see that [negative RSG] has been eliminated. We thought it would be.
“It will go towards supporting council services generally, but it will certainly support our funding of vulnerable adults and children locally.
“We know that money for weekly bin collections costs in the region of £800,000 – but that is something we want to make sure our residents have. All these things are important.”
In perhaps not so good news for the Royal Borough, business retention rates will reduce to 75 per cent from 100 per cent, which is where councils bear a proportion of the real-terms change in business rates revenues in their areas. The 100 per cent retention was part of a Berkshire-wide pilot scheme.
A total of 15 pilots will be carried out in counties across England – including Berkshire and Buckinghamshire – to test the new approach.
Cllr Dudley added that he was not too disappointed with this news: “There were two big things for the Royal Borough: the elimination of the negative RSG – that was great news.
“The other was that we and the other Berkshire unitary authorities have been successful for the business rates retention.
“It was extremely good for us, and we have to be grateful that we have got this [75 per cent].
“Residents can continue to expect high quality.”
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