Residents, community groups and businesses are invited to take part in a public consultation on the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead’s draft budget proposals, which runs from today (Tuesday 13 December) until Tuesday 24 January.
The proposed budget for 2023/24 will allow the council to set a balanced budget while continuing to provide essential support to our most vulnerable residents and quality services for the whole community.
The current financial climate, of high inflation, interest rates and energy costs, alongside uncertainty around central government funding, ongoing impacts from the pandemic and pressure on reserves, has placed all councils under additional financial pressure.
Coupled with an increasing demand for some services, especially provisions for our most vulnerable residents such as social care and housing, the council has reviewed all services to ensure they are run as effectively as possible and provide value for money.
To help achieve a balanced budget, the draft budget proposes a 4.99% increase in council tax for 2023/24, which includes an increase of 2% in the adult social care precept. This follows the additional flexibility around raising council tax, announced in the government’s Autumn Statement, to help councils address rising costs.
The council remains focused on delivering a sustainable borough of opportunity and innovation, and on its Corporate Plan priorities. Despite the national change to council tax, the Royal Borough continues to have one of the lowest council tax rates in the country.
The consultation runs from today until Tuesday 24 January. Public feedback will help inform discussions when the draft budget is debated at Full Council in February 2023. To take part visit https://rbwmtogether.rbwm.gov.uk/budget-consultation-2023-24. Paper copies of consultation documents are also available in all borough libraries upon request.
Councillor Andrew Johnson, leader of the council, said: “The last couple of years have been financially tough, and the recent circumstances beyond our control have placed additional pressures on everyone, with councils across the country facing sometimes challenging decisions to help stabilise financial positions.
“At the Royal Borough, we continue to transform services to ensure they run effectively and efficiently for our communities and businesses, maximise external funding opportunities, and strengthen our focus with partners around prevention and early intervention to help support our most vulnerable, as well as manage growing demand.
“This year’s proposed budget secures the financial stability of the borough while still maintaining one of the lowest council tax rates in England. Many councils will be increasing council tax by a higher amount this year to maintain important services in the current financial climate. However, council tax relief for the most vulnerable will also be maintained.”
Councillor Johnson added: “We’re undertaking this public engagement on the draft budget proposals as part of our commitment to sustaining a borough where residents’ voices are heard. So, I encourage you to take part and share your thoughts on how the draft budget might affect you. We also welcome your ideas if you think there are other ways we can deliver the services that matter to you within the financial constraints facing us.”