The new leader of Reading council has expressed hopes for change in the wake of the general election being announced.

Councillor Liz Terry (Labour, Coley) is the new leader of Reading Borough Council, in charge of forming the council’s policies and steering its agenda.

Currently, just under a quarter of the council’s £486.8 million budget for this year, £167.9 million of it has been raised through council taxes.

While the amounts the council receives have gone down, budget pressures such as tackling homelessness and care for the elderly have gone up.

The council receives £49 million from outside sources, of which £48.1 million comes from business rates and the remainder comes from government grants.

READ MORE: New Reading Borough Council administration announced 

Cllr Terry hopes that changes to how local councils are funded could be made by a government in an interview with The Reading Chronicle.

Cllr Terry said: “I would expect and hope over time that we will see things that will help people to manage on a day-to-day basis so that they can live in good secure housing, with enough to manage, so that they are not going to get food parcels and they are not relying on charities to help to get their white goods and whatever it might be, and they can find gainful employment when it is what they want to do.

“And when they are really not able because they are sick, or they have got some disabilities that means they are not able to do the work, but they still can have a decent quality of life, because that’s the sort of society we should live in.

“I expect that will happen under a Labour government more than I would ever dream it would happen under a Conservative government.”

Cllr Terry mentioned six priorities Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour party leader, has promised to deliver on if he becomes Prime Minister. These are:

  1. Deliver economic stability
  2. Cut NHS waiting times
  3. Launch a new Border Security Command
  4. Set up Great British Energy
  5. Crack down on anti-social behaviour
  6. Recruit 6,500 new teachers

The priorities were announced on Thursday, May 16, the day of the interview.

Cllr Terry admitted these priorities would take precedence over reforming the way councils are financed.

She continued: “I accept it will take some time, notwithstanding the six steps that Sir Kier Starmer has set out and consolidating some of the things that have already been announced, they will make progress on those as they are funded.

“The other things, we will have to see what it looks like when they [Labour MPs] are in government.

“Can they change some of the funding priorities, can we get the economy going so we can raise more money to spend on public services?”

Cllr Terry was officially made leader at the council’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, May 22.

She was later seen at a Labour general election campaign event in Pangbourne held on Friday of the same week.