Council tax will go up by an average of £84 this year, after the council approved its budget for 2021/22 last night.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) approved a 4.99 per cent council tax increase, which includes three per cent reserved for adult social care spending.

Councillor Jason Brock, leader of the council, said: “No politician wants to raise council tax but I would hope most residents recognise the council has to fund services.”

READ MORE: You could soon get fined for failing to tell the council about changes to your council tax or benefits situation

He said the government had given councils the opportunity to raise the  adult social care precept as a “sticking plaster” rather than properly funding councils.

The budget also includes £15 million of savings and investment in leisure facilities, road repairs and train stations.

The council has also had to dip into £3 million of reserves “out of necessity” to make sure it delivers a balanced budget this year.

The plans also include a new one-off additional grant for people on the local council tax support grant, giving residents most in need £70.

Explaining why the council is increasing the adult social care precept by three per cent, councillor Tony Jones said: “No one likes asking people to pay more for a service.

“But the truth is that this year councils up and down the land of all colours will be asking their residents to pay more to support adult social care.

Reading Chronicle: PICTURED: Councillor Tony JonesPICTURED: Councillor Tony Jones

“We have a national system of funding adult social care which is broken. We have rising demands, rising costs, but an apparent reluctance to do anything about it.

“It is a broken system which underfunds local councils, underfunds carers and care homes, and robs people at the end of their lives – and their families – of their life-long savings and assets.”

Opposition councillors all opposed the budget.

Conservative group leader councillor Jeanette Skeats said she understands the pressure on services but would resist the three per cent adult social care increase if in control.

While Green group leader councillor Rob White criticised cuts to staff terms and conditions, accusing the council of ‘fire and rehire’ and said he is “concerned the council is not doing enough on climate change”.

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And Lib Dem group leader councillor Ricky Duveen says more needs to be done to tackle affordable housing and climate change.

Both the Lib Dems and Greens put forward amendments aimed at increasing tree planting and insulating more homes, which were rejected.

The council also approved its latest three-year financial strategy, which includes £28 million of savings.

While RBC has achieved a balnaced budget for this year, it was unable to balance its three-year medium term financial strategy budget fully, with a further £3.6 million of savings needed in the next two years.

The capital spending plans over the next three years include £9 million on road and pavement resurfacing, more than £40 million on leisure facilities including pools in Rivermead and Palmer Park

and £7 million on energy saving measures.