Slough Council reveals £5.75million savings plan amid finance battle

Slough Borough Council aims to home rough sleepers staying in Datchet hotel

Slough Borough Council (SBC) is required to make £5.75million worth of savings within its budget for place and community next year as it continues to grapple with its precarious financial position.

The extraordinary place scrutiny panel on Wednesday heard that the council would have an initial net budget of £4million in the sector for 2022/23 – down from £9.75million which was allocated this year.

The council aims to achieve the multi-million pound saving through a range of different methods, said Richard West, the executive director of customer and community for the authority.

Ideas include renting out more floor space at council-owned buildings, such as Observatory House, and the implementation of digital advertising which would require a licence fee to SBC.

Parking is also earmarked as a potential money-maker with the council predicting that it will receive more income when it goes completely cashless in January.

An increase in charges for waste services and street cleansing service reductions would help achieve the £5.75million savings goal, Mr West told this week’s meeting.

A saving of £50,000 is also planned for ‘park efficiences’ – which involves SBC no longer paying to have its parks Green Flag assessed.

“We need around £6million of savings for 2022/23, so that is a significant amount of money.”

Worries over SBC's finances continued this week after the Government confirmed the appointment of commissioners to try and repair the council’s financial crisis.

The authority is predicted to have a £159 million deficit by 2024/25 if drastic action is not taken, after a Section 114 notice was issued in July, which essentially banned all new spending. 

Wednesday's meeting also heard the latest on the controversial A4 bus lane in Slough, with plans in the pipeline to make the scheme permanent, although not all councillors on the panel were in favour of this. 

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