Households in Nottinghamshire will see their bills to go up again from April after the county council announced council tax would rise by 3.99 per cent – the maximum allowed.
Of that, two percent will be ring-fenced for spending on adult social care.
It means people in Band A properties will pay an extra £39.26 a year, while those in Band D homes will pay an additional £58.89.
The final figure people pay is likely to be more than that because police and fire services are expected to put their share of council tax up, and many district and borough councils are also considering raising theirs.
Council budgets have come under significant pressure in recent years, with reduced funding from the Government, increasing demand, and the price for delivering those services also increasing.
Already cuts have been made throughout Notts, but county council finance boss Richard Jackson said next year they would be doing ‘everything they can to protect front-line services’.
Further, Councillor Jackson, who represents Toton, Chilwell and Attenborough for the Conservatives, said without the increase in council tax there would be a ‘very significant impact on services.’
It had been expected that the main block of money from the Government, known as the Revenue Support Grant, would be pulled altogether from this April, ahead of a new scheme being put in place.
But Governmental delays – in part due to Brexit – meant the new formula was not finalised in time, and the scheme rolled over for another year, meaning the council received more money than it expected.
Asked whether this meant some of the cuts which have been made – including to the most disabled people in the county – could now be reversed, Councillor Jackson said: “No, all the savings we’ve taken were necessary, and it puts us on a sounder footing, but there’s still a small gap (in future budgets).
“The budget situation has improved because of the savings we’ve made, so we still have a balanced budget this year but beyond that there are savings that need to be found, so replacing any of the savings we’ve made would just add to the problem down the line.”
Asked whether he can see why people might resent their council tax going up while some services have been reduced, Councillor Jackson said: “You can, but what I find talking to people is that they are prepared for a modest council tax increase – which is what this is – as long as they recognise that services are improving, they recognise we’re one of the very few authorities nationally where none of our libraries is closing, there’s extra money going into potholes, school spending, so I think people can see some value in it.
“There is no scope for anything other than the council tax increase we’ve brought forward, and it’s a sensible way forward.”
Councillor Alan Rhodes is the leader of the Labour group and represents Worksop North.
He said: “It is clear that both the increase in council tax and the adult social care levy are having to be implemented because local government is still being grossly underfunded by the government.
“There is too much reliance on one-off funding and temporary money, and crucially there are still no government proposals for funding adult social care – despite Boris Johnson’s promises – and this creates pressure and uncertainty for local authorities and on the service itself, which is Nottinghamshire’s biggest financial commitment.
“Alongside this, there is ongoing and growing pressure in the children and young people’s budget and no sign of adequate funding for this either.
“The whole financial situation is a mess and entirely unacceptable”