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Thursday, 14 December, 2023
Bracknell Forest Council - Have your say on our draft 2024/25 budget

Bracknell Forest residents, groups and organisations can now have their say on the council’s proposed 2024/25 budget.

Each December we set out proposals for where we will spend our money the following financial year. We also set out where we propose to make savings (sometimes referred to as efficiencies).

At its meeting on Tuesday (12 December), the decision-making executive agreed that the public should be consulted on the proposed 2024/25 budget over the next six weeks.

This means you have until Wednesday, 24 January to look through the proposed spending and savings and let us know what you think.

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 and weed killing to increase biodiversity in the borough.
  • Dimming streetlights 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.
  • Investing in leisure services, including essential maintenance of the pools at Coral Reef and Bracknell Leisure Centre and repairing equipment at Downshire Golf Course at a combined cost of £576,000.
  • Continuing to support the borough’s most vulnerable residents through the on-going council tax reduction scheme.

Residents can have their say through the official consultation. Additionally, this year, councillors will also be visiting keys destinations like libraries and The Lexicon to gather feedback on specific proposals. Comments will form part of the overall consultation. Dates and locations will be made available on the council’s website shortly.

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.

“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.