Cllr David Burbage MBE is Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Council Tax in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is being cut by two per cent in 2014/5. We have been determined to deliver a further reduction in the local tax burden not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because we know that the cost of living for people on lower incomes is particularly difficult right now. Band ‘D’ council tax will now stand at a little over £926.

We’re maintaining our weekly bin collection – that’s weekly refuse and weekly recycling, as well as planning to invest more money in our roads programme than last year, in response to residents’ wishes.

The proposed reduction of two per cent will make a fifth consecutive year of tax reductions (-4.0 per cent in 2010/11, -0.5 per cent in 2011/12, -1.5 per cent in 2012/13 and -3.0 per cent in 2013/4) for local residents, an absolute cut of 11 per cent and a reduction against inflation of well over 20 per cent.

Leaving this money in the pockets of our residents means that they are free to spend it how they wish, and to the benefit of the local economy. And although it is “only” £19 lower than last year, the cumulative total of reductions means that one of the biggest bills that families have to pay each month is significantly lower in Windsor and Maidenhead than in most other council areas in the country.

New technology and competition for contracts means we are able to achieve significant savings in budget areas such as adult social care and telecommunications, and we are always looking to create lean business processes that allow us to get things done more quickly and effectively.

Our reserves are healthy and our continual challenge to do more with less remains constant. Local government always has to have a balanced budget each year, and any capital expenditure funded through borrowing needs to be kept affordable. Our long term debt is reasonably modest and remains under control – the last thing we want is a big proportion of our annual budget to be spent on debt interest and repayments.

We know that more savings are achievable – and we remain confident that local taxpayers will enjoy great local services, at low cost, in Windsor and Maidenhead.