RESIDENTS in Wokingham Borough are going to be "hit harder than anyone else" after Westminster's latest round of budget cuts revealed the borough council has to save an extra £2m.
The comments were made by the leader of Wokingham Borough Council after central government revealed councillors would have to once again alter their spending plans before February.
Wokingham is the worst hit unitary authority in the country, after having its revenue support grant sliced by 50 per cent, compared to Reading's 30 per cent and Bracknell's 28 per cent.
The news was delivered last week as the council's number crunchers reviewed the final breakdown of how their government funding will change in the coming years.
Cllr Keith Baker, leader of the borough council, said it is "too early to say" whether council tax will increase, but conceded "the pressures are there".
The borough council revealed to the public earlier this year that it needs to cut £8m from its budget of £113m, but the latest figures show the council will need to cut more of its spending.
Last year's revenue support grant was set at £12m, and councillors originally budgeted to save £4m, but now have to spare an extra £2m. Officers behind the scenes are frantically working out what effects the newest cuts will have on the council's services.
Cllr Keith Baker said: “We’re devastated because of what this means for the people of Wokingham, and outraged central government is unfairly penalising them in this way."
The council launched a series of consultations earlier this year, asking residents to submit their views on ideas for budget cuts.
Proposals included changing recycling collections to fortnightly to save around £1.2m, reducing voluntary and community sector grants and a hike in car parking fees, which could earn between £10,000 and £50,000 per year.
Cllr Baker added: “Wokingham Borough Council will suffer a 50 per cent cut compared to the 24 per cent average for unity authorities and 30 per cent for Reading Borough Council.
“Central government has changed the way it does its calculations and now includes income from council taxpayers. But our residents are already paying a larger percentage of the costs of our services, to make up the shortfall in poor central government funding. This means they’re being hit harder than anyone else.”
Councillors and officers have until February to determine how they are going to save the extra funds before submitting their next annual budget.