12:34PM, Wednesday 26 February 2014
Council tax has been cut for the fifth consecutive year after the Royal Borough approved its budget for the new financial year.
A number of Conservative councillors praised Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Maidenhead Riverside), cabinet member for finance, and council offices for the report which sees council tax reduced by two per cent.
The reduction, from £945.78 to £926.40 for band D properties, will be put in force from April this year.
Speaking at a council meeting last night, Cllr Dudley said: "The reason this is a special budget is that no council in the UK has ever done this before. They have never cut council tax for five consecutive years.
"In our fifth year of reductions that will aggregate to an 11 per cent reduction in five years and over the course of those five years we have kept £22m in our local economy."
He added: "We should keep tax low because it's our residents' money but at the same time we are improving the quality of services. We are doing more for less."
A total of £6.15m has been identified in efficiency savings but additional funding has been made available including £3.7m for the Stafferton Way Link Road and £1.6m of highway resurfacing works.
Other expenditure includes £826k in adult social care, £340k in children's safeguarding, £860k in waste management and £225k in housing benefits.
Opposing the budget, Cllr Lynne Jones (Old Windsor Residents' Association, Old Windsor) said that council services would suffer as a result of the council tax cut.
She said: "Although Cllr Dudley may applaud the cut in council taxes, the real cut is to the expenditure of council services.
"I applaud the philosophy of lowering council tax but please don't say there will be no consequences, be honest and transparent.
“We are failing some of the vulnerable in our society."
The budget was approved with a majority vote with seven councillors abstaining.
The meeting took place at Maidenhead Town Hall.
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