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New budget passed by Slough Borough Council

Money for school places, tackling homelessness and protecting the borough from the fallout of a no-deal Brexit was included in the 2019/20 Slough Borough Council (SBC) budget which was passed last night (Thursday).

The budget, which has been balanced for the next three years, will include a 2.8 per cent council tax increase — 4.7 per cent including fire, police and adult social care precepts.

A £12m expansion has been planned for Wexham School as well as £9.5m for the new Grove Academy School in Chalvey, £1.4m on expanding Langley Grammar School and £21m for Special Educational Needs places over the next five years.

A total of £1.4m of new and additional money will be invested in supporting looked after children this year including care leavers, who will now have their council tax covered by SBC up to the age of 25, even if they move out of town.

Overall, out of the excess of £105m being spent by SBC this year, £29.26m will be spent on children, learning and skills.

SBC will invest £700,000 in adult social care, meaning the council will now be spending 39p on it of every pound spent

SBC leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said the number of large scale regeneration projects in the town in combination with Crossrail and Heathrow Airport’s expansion means that ‘Slough stands on the cusp of a really interesting time.

“We emerge from this period of austerity with confidence,” he added.

This year alone, the council is to spend £55.6m on regeneration.

A £25m investment project is planned for the old town centre library site, which, in partnership with developers Slough Urban Renewal, will be converted into two hotels, restaurants, apartments and shared ownership properties.

About 200 homes including social and affordable units are expected in the redevelopment of Stoke Wharf by the Grand Union Canal, while 175 new homes, are planned for the former Montem Leisure Centre site.

About 1,400 homes, new offices and bars and restaurants are planned for the former Thames Valley University site, which is designed to make the town centre better linked.

About 120 social and affordable homes are  planned for the year ahead and plans for a further 250 to be drawn up after that.

The council leader announced a £200,000 contingency fund for a no-deal Brexit, which was followed by a further £200,000 from central government.

An extra £520,000 for rough sleeping support services was announced at the meeting at The Curve in William.

Conservative Group amendments to the budget, all of which were voted down by councillors, included ten extra traffic enforcement cameras and additional bus lane cameras and improved contract management for on-street parking enforcement.

The group also proposed £150,000 to cover public transport for carers and an assessment to see if public transport access points are disability friendly enough, additional road safety initiatives and free on-street and off-street parking in dedicated bays for all electric vehicles.

Cllr Swindlehurst said that he was prepared to work with the opposition on achieving these goals but said the Conservative Group’s plans had not been ‘reliably costed’.

He added: “The one thing we know about this budget is that the numbers in it are reliable.

“Unfortunately the opposition in this town just aren’t ready to form an administration or attempt to run it.”

But cabinet member for environment and leisure Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) gave the opposition credit for drawing up an alternative budget.

He said: “This is my 22nd budget. Only four times in those 22 years has the opposition attempted to present an alternative budget, and that was me, when I was in opposition.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • liamvad

    14:02, 25 February 2019

    I keep banging on about the OAP bus pass that was cut,this stopped very many OAP's going out early to Slough to shop,they now cannot get on a bus until after 09:30am,by which time the town is busy when they get there!! This was a saving of 250,000 to the council,but hinders OAP mobility,and isolation issues,PLEASE re-instate the bus pass,when Fiona McTaggart was MP,she told you not to do it,as savings could be found elswhere,other boroughs have re-instated it,but not Slough, a socialist Labour council......odd.

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  • be_ transparent

    16:04, 24 February 2019

    What I expect Swindlehurst won’t mention is the amount of money per year the council expects to make by putting up cameras in the bus lanes and ticketing people. The amount they will bring in is estimated as £350,000 per year - and that’s despite employing 5 extra staff at a cost of £40,000 each ! Shakedown Slough is now at full war with the motorist with the new ‘transport vision’ stating the transport departments aim is a significant reduction in traffic volumes in parts of the centre of Slough. Of course, whilst this is going on the council will of course will not hesitate to expand free car parking facilities for council staff, and won’t even sense the total double standards they consistently apply on transport and parking - one rule for council staff, and another for us. In other news just in, having doubled the square footage size of the council office in the centre of Slough, the next project is a ‘localities strategy’ so council workers can be closer to communities. You know, the council workers we spent tens of millions on consolidating and centralising into one office last week. The same workers who we spent remote access technology on so they could work from home. What we need is a commitment from the council to stop rearranging the desk chairs on the titanic for ten years and spend our money on Slough people rather than themselves !

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  • Honestjim

    10:10, 24 February 2019

    I was there as a member of the public. Sadly there was a lot grandstanding but very little actual detail. There are only 16 official homeless people in Slough according to sloughs own figures but we seem to be spending £500k on them. 1400 dwellings on the TVU site but all built for commuters and not local people. More and more flats. The council clearly want to make Slough a commuter town for London workers and not for local people. Type Slough investment into google and see all the Chinese and foreign investment firms selling off plan to outside countries. There is a lot of social engineering too but not providing a mix of housing just social

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    • be_ transparent

      16:04, 24 February 2019

      You miss the point Jim. Its £500k on the organisations that deliver homeless services in Slough, not the official homeless people. When the organisations that are getting this money are announced I suggest you swing over to http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk and see how much these organisations pay their CEOs and board members to get a fuller picture of where some of the money is going.

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