Council tax in Reading is set to be raised by the maximum amount again this year as the Labour administration has argued inflation and demand for services has increased costs.

Each financial year the level of council tax is set to pay for the services local authorities provide.

These services include roadworks, waste collection, council house management and looking after adults and children, among other duties.

Therefore the council’s Labour administration is proposing to increase council tax by the maximum amount of 4.99 per cent for the 2024/25 financial year.

Of that, 2.99 per cent of the increased amount raised will go into council services, with a further two per cent ring-fenced for adult social care, which involves health visits and residential care for disabled and elderly people.

The increase -4.99 per cent- is the maximum amount that the tax can raise by without holding a local referendum.

While the council does receive funding from the government, the lion’s share of its funding comes from council tax.

The Labour administration has argued that an increase of 4.99 per cent was assumed by the government when it devised its ‘finance settlement’ for Reading Borough, which determines how much the council receives in government funding.

Jason Brock (Labour, Southcote), the council leader, said: “We fully acknowledge a council tax rise is never welcome, particularly in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, but these rises were once again assumed by the Government in this year’s finance settlement.

“As always, my preference would be that the Government provides a realistic and sustainable funding solution for local councils, rather than placing the burden on local residents. ”

Reading Chronicle: Councillor Jason Brock, the leader of Reading Borough Council. Credit: Reading Borough CouncilCouncillor Jason Brock, the leader of Reading Borough Council. Credit: Reading Borough Council

Neighbours who are eligible will be able to reduce the amount they pay through council tax support, reduction and discount schemes for people who are single, disabled and care leavers.

You can see whether you are eligible on the ‘council tax discounts, exemptions and support’ web page.

Councillor Brock said: “Reading Council is again protecting those hardest hit by inflation by increasing the discretionary reduction for residents eligible for our local Council Tax Support Scheme, which means eligible residents will have their Council Tax bills automatically reduced such that they are protected from the increase.”

The council tax increase is a major part of its budget for 2024/25 which will be discussed at its policy committee on Monday, February 19 for debate and approval at the full council meeting on Tuesday, February 27.

Spending measures include an extra £5.5 million for adult social care where costs are rising due to inflation, an extra  £7.4 million for children’s social care and £1 million extra spending on homelessness prevention due to an increase in homelessness referrals.