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 just under £458 million for 2021/22 and £99 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.

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 2021/22 the Council’s element of Council Tax will increase by 4.99%, an increase of £1.62 per week for a Band D property and £1.44 for a Band C property and £1.44 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 3.00% 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 3% adult Social Care Precept will raise an extra £2.8 million, which is equivalent to 2,900 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.

Investing in Reading’s future

Over the next three years we’re investing in the areas you’ve told us matter most to you.

  • more than £40m to modernise Reading’s leisure facilities, and building two new swimming pools
  • working with the Police and other local partners to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour
  • continuing our £9m investment to repair more roads, potholes and pavements
  • continuing to invest £1.5m to increase recycling rates and introduce weekly food waste collections, as well as £7m in initiatives to tackle climate change such as renewable energy infrastructure
  • continuing our investments of £14.5m towards a new station at Green Park and £3.5m to refurbish Reading West Station, and inviting input into consultations on new ‘active travel’ schemes
  • continuing our £50m investment in new school buildings and facilities
  • investing more than £30m to improve adult social care services, buildings and facilities
  • investing £2.5m to improve customer service including better technology, more access to services online and improvements to our website
  • making £28m of savings by doing things more efficiently, without cutting front line services

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.