12:35PM, Wednesday 24 February 2021
Council tax bills for residents in Slough look set to rise by more than £70 in the next financial year.
Slough Borough Council is proposing to raise band D council tax by 1.99 per cent, the maximum permitted without holding a referendum, in 2021/22.
The council’s adult social care precept, which helps fund social care services for adults in the borough, is also expected to rise by three per cent.
This will leave band D council tax bills at £1,490.30 per year, excluding the precepts from the police, fire and parish councils.
Neil Wilcox, executive director of corporate services at the council, told a cabinet meeting on Monday the council’s tax base has been reduced by about 4.5 per cent due to the impact of COVID-19.
He said: “That is predominantly due to the number of people going onto council tax support schemes and the number of young people going onto benefits.
“That’s had an overall impact on our financial position in the region of £4 to £5million but that now is baked into our budget going forward.”
Slough Borough Council also faces a £10 million hole in next year’s budget.
This includes a one-off £5.3million payment owed to a Slough-based company following a business rates dispute dating back to 2010.
Mr Wilcox told cabinet members the council is awaiting Government approval for a capitalisation direction which will allow it to sell off any buildings it owns to fund these ‘exceptional’ payments.
Council leader James Swindlehurst told the meeting that Slough was not alone in increasing council tax by the maximum amount.
He said: “We’re taking the full 1.99 rise plus the 3 per cent for adult social care.
“Reading Borough Council is doing the same, so is the Royal Borough next door to us.
“Buckinghamshire is notable at setting a little bit lower but they’re supporting this year’s budget with £2million of reserves so in some ways that reduction in the rise is covered by the fact they’re depleting their reserves.”
The council’s revenue budget, used for day-to-day services such as bin collections, has been set at £123.43 million for 2021/22.
A further £147.5million has been earmarked for the council’s capital programme, funding new investments and building projects, from 2021/22 to 2023/24.
A total of £147.24 million is being made available for affordable housing schemes between 2021/22 and 2023/24.
Councillors will vote on whether to approve the budget for the upcoming financial year during a meeting on Monday, March 8.
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