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Council tax rise confirmed

West Berkshire Council has passed its 2018/19 budget at its full council meeting meaning residents will see their Council Tax increase by 5.99%.

According to the Council, this year's budget will see investment in a number of areas including highways, education and infrastructure as well a Council Tax increase of 2.99% from West Berkshire Council, with a 3% Adult Social Care precept.

The Council Tax increase will raise £2.7m and the precept will raise a further £2.7m, which will be ring-fenced to meet the growing demands of adult social care.

Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: "To put this budget into context, over the past five years we have faced increasing demands on our core services, coupled with reduced funding. In 13/14 our grant from central government was almost £24m. That grant is now virtually zero. Taking inflation into account there has been a real terms reduction in our spending of £10.5m each year compared to 2013/14.

"Our budgets are particularly under strain as a result of the spiralling cost of adult social care, which represents almost 40% of the council's budget. It is estimated that within 20 years there will be two adults of working age for every one retired. We must address this as caring for our most vulnerable is the most important thing we do as a council."

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