Cllr David Burbage MBE is the Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
In 2015/16, Conservatives at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are going to be charging less Council Tax for local residents. For the sixth year running, we are cutting the Band D charge – this time by 2.1 per cent – making the total reduction over 13 per cent in absolute terms, and 30 per cent in real terms against RPI across the same period.
Taxes are now over £130 cheaper at Band D than in 2009/10, whereas in nearby Reading, taxes on their residents have risen to £430 more than in Windsor and Maidenhead.
Previously, Liberal Democrats had raised taxes by a cumulative 24.3 per cent over just a four year period.
By any measure, we’ve made a difference.
We are often asked which services are being reduced to pay for this tax reduction. Actually, our biggest asset is having the ethos of extremely efficiently services (rather than preservation of a particular inertia) which means the pace of change – for the better –
releases resources to enhance and expand services.
For example, we have opened two new libraries, and almost all of the Borough’s libraries are now open on Sundays. This means they are accessible at times convenient for all residents, not just those who happen to be around between (say) 9.30am and 4pm.
We’ve been able to hold down our parking charges, without over-inflationary increases, and a long-awaited transfer of our leisure facilities operations has meant external investment, a better operating model, and a quality offer from a leisure industry specialist.
Sharing of services with neighbouring boroughs, a watch on all our procurement activities (“is it really a statutory service?”) all help find critical savings.
Tied to an increase in grants to the voluntary sector, a real weekly bin collection (weekly residual, weekly recycling, weekly food) and spending more money on the roads, we really are putting residents first, and taking less money from their pockets.
Conservatives have always believed lower taxes and smaller, effective government; we’re making it happen in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.