Reading council wants to increase tax yet again next year in hopes of tackling a £4.1 million shortfall in the money it needs to spend on vital services.

Before the Christmas break, the council administration began a review of its medium-term financial strategy, which sets out what the council will spend money on in the coming years.

The administration is seeking to increase council tax by a maximum of 4.99 per cent. Of that, 2.99 per cent will go towards council services, and two per cent will be ring-fenced to pay for adult social care.

The increase has been justified as council financial staff are predicting a £4.107 million budget gap for the 2024/25 financial year.

That means the council is spending more than projected on the services it provides, which includes social care for adults and children, homelessness prevention, the maintenance of roads and parks and more.

READ MORE: Pressure mounts on council services such as childcare and tackling homelessness

The council is currently holding a public consultation into its Medium Term Financial Strategy covering 2024-25 and 2026-27 fiscal years.

The consultation contains seven questions.

Among them, it asks whether council tax should be raised to 4.99 per cent to minimise the council’s funding gap and pay for the services it provides.

It also asks people which service areas should receive less rather than more council tax investment.

Respondents are asked to pick three service areas which include social care, parks, leisure and culture, waste collection, street cleaning, road maintenance and maintaining the library service.

The council has told residents that if the funding given by government is higher than expected, it will use the majority of that to close the £4.107 million budget gap.

But then the consultation asks which of the three services mentioned above should be prioritised for investment.

People have also been asked about projects within the council’s Capital Programme.

These include improvements to parks and play areas, IT services, the provision of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation and more projects.

READ MORE: Reading neighbours to fight council over Gypsy and Traveller site near sewage works

Out of the council’s three year capital programme spend of £291 million, a £142.9 million spend is scheduled for 2024/25.

Residents have been asked which of the council’s Capital Programme projects could be removed or scale back.

The final key question asks residents whether they support a maximum increase of 7.7 per cent to social rented housing.

It will be up to the government to determine how much social rents can go up by.

Residents have been asked whether they support the possible increase of rents, as it would allow the council’s housing department to continue retrofitting homes, which it argues improves energy efficiency and reduces tenants bills.

You can respond to the council’s questions on the Consult Reading website, under the title ‘Reading Borough Council’s Budget Engagement 2024/25’.

The deadline for responses is Friday, January 19.