Council tax could rise by the maximum amount next year as Bracknell Forest faces a “huge challenge” to find £10 million extra, the man in charge of council cash has said.

Bracknell Forest Council could raise some £3.75 million more from residents if it increases council tax by the full five per cent from April 2024.

Stuart McKellar, the council’s executive director for resources, included the figure in a report on the state of the council’s finances.

He said the council needs to find savings and extra income totalling £9.5 million by the end of April 2027. And he warned the extra money can’t only come from finding ways to make the council more efficient.

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Mr McKellar said: “Delivering this level of savings, particularly in such a short time period, represents a huge challenge for an organisation of the Council’s scale.” He added: “Efficiencies alone will not bridge this scale of gap.”

The council already faces spending some £3 million more than it had planned to this year.

If it can’t do this, it will have to make up the difference by dipping into its reserves – pots of money saved for covering overspends – as it is legally required to set a balanced budget. But Mr McKellar warns that the council can’t rely on its reserves in the long run.

Councils across Britain are struggling with their cash, as government funding often no longer covers rising prices. On top of this, Bracknell has had to refund some £30 million to shops in The Lexicon that claimed years’ worth of tax refunds this year.

Mr McKellar is set to present his update to a committee of councillors on Tuesday, November 21.