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Controversial budget approved by councillors

George Roberts

The controversial budget that will see Royal Borough residents lose parking discounts, the number of community wardens decrease and force libraries to cut opening hours has been approved by councillors.

At a full council meeting on Tuesday, members debated the budget proposals

designed to help to produce nearly £6m in savings as the council grapples with a projected overspend of £3.7m for this financial year.

Introducing the proposals, Cllr David Hilton (Con, Ascot & Sunninghill), lead member for finance, said: “This council proposes a transformative, innovative and financially responsible budget designed to

future-proof the council while protecting vulnerable people.”

Council tax will rise by 1.99 per cent along with a two per cent increase in the adult social care
precept, meaning the overall council tax bill will rise by 3.9 per cent.

For a band D home in an unparished area of Maidenhead, this equates to a rise of £52.25, from £1,339.65 to £1,391.90.

Response to the budget has been mixed, with some elements, particularly the scrapping of the Advantage Card parking discounts, receiving criticism from the public; a petition calling for the council to reverse its

decision on this cut has received more than 7,000 signatures.

At the meeting, Cllr Hilton hinted that this decision may be revisited in the future, stating the council was ‘considering options for a parking discount offer’.

Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury), lead member for parking, added: “We are deciding to review a number of

options for parking – this will particularly focus on Windsor.

“This will be in place from September 2020.

“This time frame will allow council residents time to consider what we are doing and fully understand our implementations.”

Other introductions

include a residents’ parking permit, which will cost £50 for the first car and £70 for a second. There will be discounts for electric vehicles.

The number of community wardens in the borough is to decrease from 25 to 19. Cllr Cannon said that this change was partly due

to Thames Valley Police announcing an increase in its officers.

Another change which is still being consulted on is the proposal to ‘transform’ the council’s support for vulnerable children and families by introducing two central hubs in Maidenhead and Windsor from which the majority of services will be run.

Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), lead member for adult social care, children’s services, health and mental health, praised the budget and the impact it will have on the borough’s most vulnerable.

He said: “The reality is we are in a good position on children and adult

social care.

“The budget for adult social care is increasing by £1.9million and, for children, it is up £1.2million.

“The point of this is we are following the advice of the Children’s Commissioner, from a cross-party report which includes Liberal Democrats.”

At the meeting, the revenue budget was carried with 23 votes for and 17 against. The new budget will come into effect on Wednesday, April 1.

Also at the meeting, the council tax reduction scheme, fees and charges and capital budget were all voted through by members.

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  • Bingowings

    06:07, 28 February 2020

    The clowns running the council need to be shot at point blank range. Lying, self absorbed see you next Tuesday's.

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  • Pursuer

    18:43, 27 February 2020

    Our Borough loves to waste money- look at its recent nonsense for example the Queen Street experiment- which became permanent of course, must have cost thousands just to help the non-existent hordes of people pouring off the Elizabeth line trains cross the road quicker. The work was boldly announced 'Scheduled for completion by Christmas 2020' its still not done -barriers & etc laying all over the place- no one working. Then we had the other experiment the right turn out of Nicholsons Walk car park another fortune spent and more than a few near misses as a result, add on the extensive double yellow lines now on the A4 Bath Road which will never be enforced,then the resurfacing parts of which have worn away already, loads of chippings still being scattered around highways and footpaths despite two sweeping up efforts . The white arrow indicating a right turn from A4 onto Highway Avenue worn away in a few weeks. Is there no accountability? Well who cares the jolly old ratepayers will still keep coughing up. As for the loss of parking discounts- well that will cost the few remaining shops in the town some more business. The next local elections cannot come soon enough, pity its so long before we can kick this lot out.

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  • jatinder_gill

    15:08, 27 February 2020

    Isn't it funny how in the report (public document pack), there is not one mention of the recent money they threw away (around £500k) fighting the recent adoption case that they were going to lose anyway. Yet they want to save £600k by scrapping discounted parking for everyone! The council should be questioned on how they could waste so much money. Take the money out of the leaders bonus'

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