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How your money is spent 2021 to 2022

Council tax is a property based tax collected by Bracknell Forest Council. The money collected in council tax goes towards funding council services such as:

  • education
  • libraries
  • highways
  • street lighting
  • refuse collection

It is also spent on services provided by:

It is not a direct payment for services and you need to pay whether you use these services or not.

Introduction from Timothy Wheadon, Chief Executive

Man emptying a bin into a truck

Each year brings its unique challenges. I think it is fair to say that the past 12 months have tested residents, businesses, and the council in ways that none of us could ever have envisaged.

Preparations for the council’s 2021 to 2022 budget started in earnest last September. Over the course of the autumn there was real uncertainty around the ongoing impact of COVID and the level of the government’s financial support for local authorities to deal with this. Indeed, it was only after the council’s draft budget proposals for next year were published for consultation on 15 December that we received confirmation of our funding levels.

It is fair to say that the government’s response has been helpful. We have received additional funding specifically related to the service pressures and income losses we are experiencing due to COVID. In addition, some specific grants that were expected to end in 2020 to 2021 have been continued into next year.

As a consequence, we have some unexpected one-off financial flexibility. Councillors have decided to use this to help protect all essential front-line services and to develop a package of measures to help residents and businesses start to recover from the pandemic. This includes support for our local economy including our town centres, recognising their important role in employment and the wider economy and for vulnerable groups.

In terms of core services, savings of over £3 million have been identified to help offset pressures (many COVID related) totalling over £8 million. There is also an increase of 3.49% for Bracknell Forest’s element of the council tax. This is significantly lower than the maximum permitted increase of 4.99% but will add 91 pence per week to a band D bill.

We recognise that any increase is unwelcome and for some households may be unaffordable. For this reason, working age households in receipt of Council Tax Support will see a £150 reduction in their tax bill in 2021 to 2022. Any households who are struggling to keep up with their payments should contact Revenue Services who will be able to provide advice and support.

Your council tax bill

Your council tax bill is made up of 4 charges:

  1. The cost of the services provided by Bracknell Forest Council (including the levy made by the Environment Agency).
  2. The cost of  services provided by your parish or town council.
  3. The cost of services provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner of the Thames Valley (£231.28 for Band D).
  4. The cost of services provided by the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority (£68.95 for Band D).

Full details are given in the leaflet below.

The table below shows the amount that will be charged for an average band D home, depending on the parish area in the coming year.

Table showing the amount that will be charged for an average band D home, depending on the parish area in the coming year.

Area

Bracknell Forest Council (£)

Parish precept (£)

Other precepting bodies (£)

Total Band D charge (£)

Binfield

1,403.19

53.33

300.23

1,756.75

Bracknell

1,403.19

92.66

300.23

1,796.08

Crowthorne

1,403.19

82.46

300.23

1,785.88

Sandhurst

1,403.19

74.76

300.23

1,778.18

Warfield

1,403.19

43.04

300.23

1,746.46

Winkfield

1,403.19

79.78

300.23

1,783.20

Based on a tax base of 47,624 band D properties. Please note that these figures exclude any council tax relief you may be entitled to.

Environment agency

The Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011

The Environment Agency, as a levying body for its Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Functions under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Environment Agency (Levies) (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, provides the following information:

The Environment Agency has powers in respect of flood and coastal erosion risk management for 5,200 kilometres of main river and along tidal and sea defences in the area of the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. Money is spent on the construction of new flood defence schemes, the maintenance of the river system and existing flood defences together with the operation of a flood warning system and management of the risk of coastal erosion.

The financial details are:

Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee financial details

2021 to 2022 (£'000)

2020 to 2021 (£'000)

Gross expenditure

133,962

132,291

Levies raised

12,042

11,807

Total council tax base

5,127

5,163

The majority of funding for flood defence comes directly from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). However, under the new Partnership Funding rule not all schemes will attract full central funding.

To provide local funding for local priorities and contributions for partnership funding the Committee recommends through the Environment Agency a Local Levy.

Changes in the gross budgeted expenditure between years reflect the programme of works for both capital and revenue. The total Local Levy raised has increased by 1.99% from £11.81 million in 2020 to 2021 to £12.04 million for 2021 to 2022.

What is being spent on your services?

Council worker cleaning the street

Every year the council delivers a wide range of services for people who live, work and study in the borough.

A revised organisational structure was introduced in September 2018 with the council now split into 3 main functional areas.

Directorates

People directorate

Specific areas include:

  • Adult Social Care
  • Children and Families Social Care
  • Mental Health and Out of Hours
  • Schools
  • Commissioning
  • Learning and Achievement
  • Early Help and Communities
  • Public Health

The directorate's services are focused on delivering the right support for all residents of Bracknell Forest, when they need it, and empowering them to get the best out of life. It aims to provide the best possible opportunities for our young people by providing effective support and challenge to our schools and to keep everyone, whatever their age, connected to their community, family and friends and able to access the right opportunities they need to thrive. Another key outcome is to keep more families safely together and, by providing the right support at the right time, enable people to live as independently and well as possible, for as long as possible.

Delivery directorate

Has responsibility for major contracts covering areas such as waste management and the provision of leisure facilities with our partner Everyone Active. Also provides services directly to the public including customer and electoral services, libraries and the cemetery and crematorium. Provides legal, property management and ICT support services.

Central directorates

Responsible for providing strategic financial, organisational development, transformation and HR leadership to the council and support and advice to other directorates. Leads on the place shaping of the borough dealing with both day-to-day and long-term planning, open space provision, highways maintenance, transport planning and the ongoing regeneration of Bracknell town centre. Aims to create a borough where the economy can thrive and sustainable growth is positively planned for.

Contingencies

When managing such a large budget we need to make sure we have enough money to cover any unexpected emergencies.

General balances

The amount of money we are using this year from balances which we already have “in the bank” to support the cost of our services.

Parish precepts

This is the amount of money your local parish or town council requires to run services in that area. Each individual parish precept for an average band D home is outlined in the leaflet below.

Parish councils

Your parish council is the first tier of local government. It is closest to the people it represents. The elected members in each of Bracknell Forest’s 6 parishes work closely with community groups and Bracknell Forest Council to provide services relevant to each area. They vary in size and population but each tailors its services and spending to its community. Some are predominantly urban, and others more rural.

Their work often includes local environmental work in parks and play areas, provision of sports pitches and open spaces, play equipment and allotments. Some run community halls and services for young people and all give grants to help local groups. All of them have staff who can help you with information on local groups and parish and borough-wide services.

Contact your parish council to learn more, by telephone or by visiting its website. It is there to serve you and your local needs. Your input helps it provide the right services for your parish.

Breakdown of spending

To view a breakdown of spending for 2020 to 2021 compared to 2019 to 2020, please download the leaflet below.

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PDF iconHow your money is spent 2021 to 2022518.26 KB

Major works and improvements

Local road

This page contains information about the council’s spending on its day-to-day services and how this is to be paid for, including details of your council tax.

The council also needs to spend money called “capital” on maintaining its buildings (including schools, leisure centres and libraries), construction works such as major road and school improvements and buying equipment.

The council’s programme of capital works has been developed to be affordable, sustainable and prudent, with projects being carefully prioritised to help achieve the 6 strategic themes included in the Council Plan.

In this context, the council has developed a wide range of capital proposals and spending for next year is planned to be approximately £12 million, of which just over £7 million will be funded directly by the council.

Some of the major projects in our programme include:

  • £2.7 million on major works at primary and secondary schools
  • £6.4 million on highways infrastructure maintenance and improvement 
  • £2.8 million on maintaining and investing in council buildings