THE LEADER of the council hit back at a £3m cash windfall from central government.

Government chiefs pledged extra cash into council coffers to help sustain vital services.

Reading Borough Council was handed an extra £3m to its core spending power, meaning the authority has £129.5m of revenue funding.

Meanwhile, West Berkshire Council will see an increase of £1.3m.

Reading West MP Alok Sharma said: "I welcome the new funding settlement which will make a real difference to the core spending powers of both Reading and West Berkshire Councils. Having lobbied both the chancellor and the communities secretary I am of course delighted that Reading and West Berkshire were selected to be part of one of ten new business rates retention pilot areas, this means that they will keep 100% of growth rates which can fund amenities important to the community.”

RBC's grant from central government has been slashed from more than £50m to just £2m.

The council anticipates the grant could lessen even further in the coming years.

And Jo Lovelock, leader of the council, insisted the latest lump of cash is not good enough.

She challenged Mr Sharma to sit down with the council's finance team and discuss the authority's shrinking budget.

"He can't say that the government is putting extra money into the council," said Cllr Lovelock.

"We used to get £58m from the government and now we get £2m.

"These figures suggest we will be putting council tax up by 7.5 per cent but the government only allows a maximum increase of five per cent.

"I would suggest he comes and speaks to our finance people so he understands exactly what these figures mean."

The new funding settlement will also see £400,000 pumped into Reading's adult social care budget, while West Berkshire Council will receive £300,000.

Sajid David, secretary of state for local government, added: "Parliament has approved a settlement that strikes a balance between relieving growing pressure on local government whilst ensuring that hard-pressed taxpayers do not face excessive bills.

"We have listened to representations made and delivered on these requests: two years of real terms increases in resources, more freedom and fairness, and greater certainty to plan and secure value for money.”