DESPITE a one-off grant of more than £2m Wokingham borough residents are facing a nearly two per cent hike in council tax.

The authority found out it would have to find savings of £10.2m in next year's budget prompting them to increase the tax along with saving £5.4m from the budget.

Keith Baker, leader of Wokingham Borough Council. said the council's decision-making executive will consider raising council tax by 1.94 per cent. This will be the tax for a Band D property to £1,295.31, an increase of 94p per household per week.

He said: "We made numerous representations to ministers to challenge the unfair nature of the settlement.

"To some extent we’ve been listened to, and we welcome the transitional grant although it will be cut after two years. However the cut in funding overall is still severe and while we’ve had some concessions, there is a huge strain on our resources.

"Whilst in the short-term things look more positive, the end game is still the same, and just as challenging, because it’s a four-year settlement. By the end of 2019/20 we face almost impossible challenges."

The council is also planning to raise a two per cent levy on adult social care, which is expected to raise £1.6m of the £2.4m bill the council faces in the wake of the Care Act.

If approved the new precept, which can be applied across the country, would appear separately on the council tax bill.

“In the meantime we have to act," Cllr Baker added. “We are facing some very difficult decisions, and will be forced to look at increasing our income.

"We are in effect being forced to put up council tax. Looking ahead, the future looks bleak because we face a total loss of government grant by 2019/20 and extra clawback of business rates. It has never been more important to plan for the future.

"It’s been clear for some time that we cannot carry on doing things in the traditional way we’ve always done them.

"With this in mind, we’ve been breaking the mould and are already doing things differently. We’ve set up seven traded companies; we have a number of shared services, we’ve made changes to council processes and systems to ensure we are as efficient and lean as possible."