Windsor and Maidenhead residents urged to take part in 'crucial' budget consultation

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk

Residents across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are being urged to take part in this year’s budget consultation before it closes at the end of the month.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, leader of the council, encouraged residents to participate in the consultation for the budget which ‘looks to the future with investment at its heart'.

He said: “If you haven’t already, please do take part in this crucial consultation.

“We want you to share your thoughts with us on our proposals. We also welcome your ideas if you think there are other ways we could deliver those services that matter to you.

“While maintaining the lowest Council Tax rate in Berkshire and one of the lowest Council Tax rates in England, we’re investing significantly in children’s services and adult social care - two of the areas most impacted by demographic demands.

“There’s a focus on thriving communities and inspiring places, as we’re undertaking extensive rejuvenation and regeneration programmes – most notably in Maidenhead town centre, Ascot, and the Windsor public realm.

“We’re also investing heavily in our flood prevention measures and Climate Partnership.

“The past two years have been challenging. Like many other councils across the country, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions. But these decisions have stabilised our financial position and addressed those issues needed for longer-term financial sustainability.”

When first announced in November, the Royal Borough has said that there are no ‘fundamental changes’ to services in the forthcoming budget after reductions last year.

The new budget will see council tax increase by 3 per cent – £33 more a year for Band D households, which is equivalent of around 64p a week.

At a corporate overview & scrutiny panel in December, Andrew Vallance, head of finance at RBWM, revealed the initial responses to the consultation.

“In terms of whether people thought the council was good value for money, 50 per cent of people disagreed, even though we have the third lowest council tax in the country,” said Mr Vallance.

“25 per cent of people agreed [over value for money], and 25 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed.”

Concerns have also been raised by opposition councillors, with the leader of the opposition, Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) labelling it ‘smoke and mirrors’.

The consultation will close at midnight on Monday, January 31, before the budget is debated at Full Council on Tuesday, February 22.

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