Bracknell Forest businesses can now have their say on the council’s proposed 2024/25 budget.
Each December Bracknell Forest Council set out proposals for where they will spend their money the following financial year. They also set out where they propose to make savings (sometimes referred to as efficiencies).
At its meeting on 12 December, the decision-making executive agreed to consult local residents and stakeholders including businesses on the proposed 2024/25 budget.
This year’s budget includes a range of spending and savings proposals, including:
- Investing £5m in local roads over the next four years to provide a better surface, reduce potholes and reduce spending in the longer term.
- Reducing grass cutting of verges to increase biodiversity in the borough.
- Dimming street lights by 10 per cent to reduce our carbon footprint and cut light pollution.
- Investing £300,000 in specific suicide prevention projects in multi-storey car parks.
- Reorganisation library and customer service teams to ensure all physical library buildings are kept open
- Investing in leisure services, including essential maintenance of the pools at Coral Reef and Bracknell Leisure Centre and repairing equipment at Downshire Golf Course.
- Continuing to support the borough’s most vulnerable residents through on-going grants and council tax reduction schemes.
Business representatives can have their say through the official consultation Budget Consultation 2024 – 2025 – Details – Keystone (bracknell-forest.gov.uk). The consultation runs until Wednesday, 24 January.
Additionally, this year, councillors will also be visiting keys destinations to gather feedback on specific proposals. Comments received at these sessions will form part of the overall consultation. Dates and locations are as below.
- Friday 19 January, The Lexicon
- Saturday 20 January 10am to midday, Bracknell Library
Cllr Kathryn Neil, executive member for finance and business change, said: “Balancing the budget is becoming more challenging each year. This year we have been faced with an unprecedented in-year budget gap, which is slowly reducing but currently stands at more than £1m. The gap has been caused through rising costs, rising inflation, increased service demand and years of underfunding from central government.
“The 2024/25 budget takes in to account these challenges, but we are not immune to further cost, inflation and service demand rises.
“This is why creating balanced draft budget plans has been particularly difficult; we’ve had to look very carefully at what we can spend money on and where we may need to make savings.
“We now want to hear what residents think about these draft plans and so I urge you to have your say before 24 January. In order to hear more of your thoughts, we will also be visiting key destinations over the next six weeks to gather your feedback, which will help us refine the budget before it is agreed in February.”
The budget proposals do not detail the level of possible council tax increase for 2024/25 – this will be discussed by the executive in February, as usual.