West Berkshire Council will have to find a further £22million over the next three years after accepting the Government’s four-year settlement last week.
Councillors on the executive board voted to approve the efficiency plan when they met for a special meeting on Thursday.
The plan commits the council to a reducing revenue support grant from Government from the initial £17.1m in 2015/16 until it reaches £0 in 2020.
Income would also be expected to fall if no new measures were implemented, leading to the council having to plug a £22.4m funding gap.
However, it does give the council stability in knowing what grant reductions to expect, as opposed to when it was faced with a Government cut much higher than it was anticipating ahead of this year’s budget.
And at last Thursday’s meeting the councillors listed some of the ways they were considering to plug the gap, such as pushing to keep all of their business rates and a joint financial venture with Greenham Common Trust.
Anthony Chadley, the council’s executive member for finance, said: “In accepting the four-year plan, we say to central Government we expect 100 per cent business rates retention.
“If we can do this, we will be one of the few authorities that will be totally self-sustainable.
“It also gives us the opportunity and freedom to focus on our efficiency plan, and more importantly on other sources of income.”
The joint venture with Greenham Common Trust is a multi-million pound property scheme to bring in extra money for both organisations.
The efficiency plan had to be published on the council’s website by October 14 – last Friday – in order for them to accept the settlement.
Alan Macro, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “I quite accept the four-year stability, it’s very good considering what’s happened in the last 12 months.
“I’m wondering why we’ve left things to the very last minute when we knew from March that this was a requirement.”
To which Cllr Chadley replied: “The reason why it’s been left until now is because we wanted to announce the joint venture.
“It’s not something that’s been rushed, it’s something we’ve been aware of and wanted to make sure it was formalised prior to the 14th.”