Nottinghamshire council tax up 3.99 per cent

Nottinghamshire County Council © westbridgfordwire.com
Nottinghamshire County Council © westbridgfordwire.com

Council tax payers throughout Nottinghamshire will see their bills rise after the county council announced plans for an increase of almost four per cent.

It is the maximum council tax can be raised by without holding a referendum.

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The says the move is ‘regrettable’, but needed to address funding shortfalls caused in part by increased demand for services and a reduction in funding from the Government.

But Labour says the council should be putting more pressure on the Government to increase its share of funding.

The initial proposals include a recommendation to increase Council Tax by just under three per cent and the adult social care precept by one per cent.

For Band A properties in the county, people will pay an extra £37.75 a year, while Band D properties will pay an additional £56.63.

The final figure householders pay is likely to be higher, because local district and borough councils, as well as the fire service and police, are also expected to put up their portions of the final council tax bill.

Despite the tax rise, the county council still forecasts a financial black hole of £33.9m over the next four years.

It says huge savings to its budget have already been made, but ‘tough decisions’ still needed to be taken.

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The plans have not yet been finalised. They will be considered at a meeting on Monday, February 11, before they are likely to be approved at the end of the month.

The council says by 2020/21, it will be receiving less than half the government funding it did in 2012/13 and its main source of funding – known as the revenue support grant – will cease altogether.

Conservative Richard Jackson is the chairman of the committee which will consider the budget next week.

The councillor, who represents Toton, Chilwell and Attenborough, said: “We’ve made significant progress in reducing the budget deficit we inherited when taking office in 2017 but it is fair to say making savings is getting tougher each year – and will continue to do so.

“Regrettably, it appears we will have no choice other than to increase council tax overall by 3.99 per cent for next year as we’re caught between having less money from the government and needing to spend a greater proportion of what’s left on life-and-death social care services.

“Reductions to some of our discretionary functions –often the most popular, highly-valued services we provide – are now inevitable, unless significant savings can be made elsewhere, such as reshaping our relationship with district and borough councils or removing a tier of local government altogether.”

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Councillor Alan Rhodes is the leader of the Labour group and represents Worksop North.

He said: “Central government should remove the uncertainty around local government funding post-2020 to enable us to plan effectively for the future.

“I am very disappointed at the lack of activity by Councillor Cutts (the leader of the council) in demanding ‘fairer funding’ for Nottinghamshire. However, I welcome the acknowledgement that a reasonable level of council tax, together with the social care precept, is necessary in these times of diminishing government grants, to ensure that those services that our communities expect and demand continue to be delivered.

“I’m also pleased that the Conservative administration has recognised the costly mistake they made in freezing council tax during their last term of office (Between 2009 and 2013).”

The initial budget report also sets out some of the council’s spending plans over the next year, including a new school in Hucknall, a new special school and daycare facility in Newark, flood protection in Southwell, superfast broadband, and upgrading street lights.