More cash for schools and roads, but funding to Early Intervention cut in council budgetBy Jennie Slevin
February 14, 2013
Cash to create more primary and secondary school places, improve Great Hollands Community Centre and fund roadworks have been highlighted in this year’s budget.
However, funding for youngsters at risk of offending will be slashed by £248,000 as the Early Intervention Grant is cut.
The council will also save money in the non-schools budgets but the number of eligible children remains volatile and will need to be monitored closely throughout the year.
More than £95 million will be spent across Bracknell Forest during the the next financial year.
Executive members passed the £24 million capital budget and the £71 million revenue budget yesterday.
The capital budget, agreed each year, pays for one-off expenditures such as housing and schools.
Bracknell Forest Council will spend £12.5 million on capital spending, with the rest coming from external schemes and grants.
Payouts include £525,000 to maintain the council offices and car park and £2.5 million on town centre roadworks.
Improvements will also be made to the Great Hollands Community Centre.
The budget also sees £5 million go towards creating additional places at primary and secondary schools and nearly £2.5 million on affordable housing.
A total of £1.35 million of the budget will be funded by Section 106 agreements, money given by developers which is used towards schools and roads.
An additional £3 million will improve accommodation in Time Square and reduce the number of buildings across the council estate.
The council also approved the revenue budget, which pays for the running costs of the borough and is partially funded by council tax.
The council is expecting to collect almost £45 million in council tax. The valuation bands for council tax paid to Bracknell Forest will not change.
As part of the revenue budget, a commitment has been made to spend £12.5 million on children, young people and education, £23.5 million on adult social care, health and housing and £24 million on environment, culture and communities.
Councillor Dr Gareth Barnard said: “I think it’s worth reflecting that it’s our aim to support all children in education and to help them thrive safely. It’s something we should be immensely proud of.
“In tough times we are still investing in the future of all our young people to help them reach their full potential – whatever that may be.”
Cllr Alan Ward: “We put tens of thousands of pounds into supporting vulnerable people each year, a huge chunk of our money. People think their council tax just goes on emptying dustbins, but we support a huge number of different and diverse things and if anyone wants to see what we’re spending on then they can see everything on our website.”
A draft budget, put forward for a six-week online consultation in December last year, drew only seven responses.
The Labour Group commented on the budget and said: “The council should recognise the hardship being faced by residents and accept a 20 per cent cut in allowances.”
It also suggested members should implement changes to their pensions a year earlier.
The revenue budget had decreased by £749,000 from £72 million last year and the capital budget has stayed around the same. The budgets will now be put forward for full council approval on Wednesday, February 27.