How we use your money

The council’s budget pays for day-to-day services such as adult social care, children’s services, waste and recycling, planning, transport, highways, street cleaning, parks, playgrounds, libraries and environmental health. The council has set a gross expenditure budget of around £466.8 million for 2022/23 and £104.4 million – just under a quarter – is funded by your Council Tax. The rest is funded from a range of sources including business rates, income from fees and charges, and funding from grants.

Directorate / serviceBudget 2021/22 (£m)Budget 2022/23 (£m)Change (£m)
Adult Social Care and Health Services37.943.0+ 5.1
Economic Growth & Neighbourhood Services20.818.7– 2.2
Resources16.417.1+ 0.7
Chief Executive’s Department1.61.5– 0.0
Children’s Services48.149.0+ 0.9
Corporate Budgets (inc. debt financing)21.420.7– 0.7
Net budget requirement146.2150.0+ 3.8
Budget by directorate/service in 2021/22 and 2022/23

Income / expenditureBudget 2021/22 (£m) Budget 2022/23 (£m) Change (£m)
Gross expenditure458.0466.8+ 8.8
Gross income311.8316.8+ 5.0
Net budget requirement146.2150.0+ 3.8
Gross income and expenditure in 2021/22 and 2022/23

Funded by Budget 2021/22 (£m) Budget 2022/23 (£m) Change (£m)
Business rates (including S31 grant)35.739.1+ 3.4
Revenue support grant2.02.1+ 0.1
New homes bonus grant2.12.0– 0.1
Other government grants6.82.4– 4.4
Collection fund / surplus (deficit)0.40.0– 0.4
Total funding47.045.6– 1.4
Council Tax requirement99.2104.4+ 5.2
How the budget in 2021/22 and 2022/23 has been funded

Over the last year, we have:

  • emptied 18,860 household bins a day
  • introduced kerbside food waste collections to 56,000 homes
  • provided 36,000 hours of care to vulnerable adults
  • accommodated 264 people under the ‘Everyone In’ initiative to prevent rough sleeping during the pandemic
  • moved our library service online during lockdown, issuing 61,000 e-resources and 22,000 click and collect items
  • maintained 400km of roads, more than 100 parks and open spaces and 18,500 streetlights
  • refurbished 4 playgrounds and opened a new one
  • started local contact tracing to complement the NHS service and keep rates above 89%
  • set up the One Reading Community Hub with partners taking more than 8,000 calls from people needing help during lockdown
  • Brighter Futures for Children supported 54,000 children and young people, and served 23,300 meals to vulnerable children/children of key workers in the pandemic

Council Tax and the Adult Social Care precept

In 2022/23 the Council’s element of Council Tax will increase by 2.99%, an increase of £1.02 per week for a Band D property and £0.91 for a Band C property. The majority of properties in Reading are Band C and below. The change is made up of a 1.99% increase in general Council Tax and a 1.00% Adult Social Care Precept.

Adult social care services support people who need extra help due to physical issues or learning disabilities, mental illness or frailty due to age. This could be in the form of personal care like support with eating, washing or getting dressed, or with managing your home life like going to the shops. We help people live at home for as long as they can. Where this is no longer possible, care is provided through supported living, extra care facilities or nursing homes. Our adult social care services have been key to our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. From making extra calls and visits to people, to working with partners to ensure people are discharged quickly and safely from hospital.

We have been making our services more efficient for many years, reviewing how we provide care and investing in new technology. However, adult social care is under pressure due to an increase in demand for services, increases in the costs of providing care services, a decrease in funding for local government and more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. The 1% adult Social Care Precept will raise an extra £1.0 million, which is equivalent to 970 hours of homecare a week, and will allow Social Care teams to continue to protect vulnerable adults as we respond to, and recover from, the pandemic.

Police and fire rescue

Your Council Tax also helps to pay for services delivered by Thames Valley Police and the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue service.  Further information on the budgets and Council Tax requirements for these services can be found at:

Council Tax Leaflets · Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner (thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk)Financial Transparency (rbfrs.co.uk)

Breakdown of Council Tax charges (Band D equivalent)

Reading Borough Council (own purposes)2021/222022/23
Band D equivalent charge (excluding adult social care)£1,578.69£1,614.04
Band D equivalent – adult social care£197.91£215.68
Band D equivalent total (A*)£1776.60£1,829.72
Council Tax and the adult social care precept – Reading Borough Council

Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley 2021/22 2022/23
Total budget requirement£475.9 million£505.0 million
Reading precept£12.9 million£13.8 million
Band D equivalent (B*)£231.28£241.28
Council Tax precept for Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service2021/222022/23
Total budget requirement£35.8 million£38.4 million
Reading precept£3.9 million£4.2 million
Band D equivalent (C*)£68.95£73.95
Council Tax precept for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service

*Total2021/222022/23
Band D equivalent (A+B+C)£2,076.83£2,144.95
Total Band D equivalent charge for Council Tax

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency charges local authorities, including Reading Borough Council, a levy for providing flood defence.  In the Thames region, this includes maintenance of the river system and the operation of a flood warning system.  In 2021/22 the Council was levied £131,180 and for 2022/23 the Council has been levied £134,443.  These costs are included within the Corporate Budgets for Reading Borough Council.