Investing in Reading: budget consultation 2020/21

Closed 19 Jan 2020

Opened 19 Dec 2019

Results expected 14 Feb 2020

Feedback expected 17 Feb 2020

Overview

We are consulting on the Council's budget for the financial year 2020/21. We are inviting input from people who live and work in Reading, partners, local businesses, and people who come into Reading to use our services. 

The following pages give you information about the draft budget, and then ask you for your feedback on the proposals.

Why We Are Consulting

An introduction from the Leader of Reading Borough Council, Councillor Jason Brock:

This budget is very different from those in previous years. Over the last decade, we have battled against national government cuts at a time when demands for Council services have increased. It hasn’t been easy, but we are proud that in Reading we have successfully stabilised our budget whilst avoiding the damaging cuts in public services seen in other parts of the country. We’ve done that by working more efficiently and modernising services to deliver better value for money. We think Reading deserves much more than that however and, having delivered a platform of financial stability, we now intend to deliver a three-year programme of investment which every single resident in Reading will benefit from.

I know you think road surfaces are in a poor condition. This budget is proposing Reading’s biggest ever road repair programme with £9 million on new road surfaces, prioritising residential streets. Modern sports and leisure facilities are long overdue. More than £40 million will be spent on providing two brand new swimming pools and refurbishing existing leisure facilities in the town.

Reading is already 9th best out of 400 local authorities in the UK for cutting its carbon footprint. We intend to deliver on our promise to future generations by building on that success and working towards a net-zero carbon Reading by 2030. Next year we will roll out our new doorstep food waste collection service, driving up recycling rates and further reducing our impact on the environment. We want to reduce congestion and improve air quality by investing in sustainable forms of travel. Work has already started on a brand new railway station at Green Park, which will open in just over a year, and our new Local Transport Plan, already subjected to a large-scale public consultation, will include a number of other environmentally friendly initiatives.

All the while we will of course continue to invest in essential services for the people who rely on us the most, including new school places and better facilities for elderly and vulnerable adults. Ofsted say Children’s Services in Reading are improving, but we won’t be happy until they are excellent.

Next year’s budget includes a proposed 1.99% general council tax rise and an additional 2.00% rise to fund extra spend on adult social care. A Council Tax rise is never welcome, but I want you to look at our ambitious three-year package of investment and feel you are getting something back.

Reading is a growing and successful town. Economically, we already punch well above our weight, but I believe there is more we can do to make sure every single resident shares in this success.  One way of achieving that is to invest in the things people tell us they care about – better roads, better parks and open spaces, better transport infrastructure and modern new leisure facilities.

This year’s budget is also different because we are asking you what you think. Please take some time to have a look through our proposals and let us know if you have any other ideas for what we should be investing in.

What Happens Next

Your feedback will be used to shape the Council's final budget for 2020/21 which will be approved by Reading's elected councillors in February 2020.

Areas

  • All Areas