A planned council tax hike of 4.84 per cent for all Nottinghamshire homes is a step closer after cabinet members approved the proposals.
Nottinghamshire County Council plans to hike residents’ bills by 2.84 per cent for standard services like transport and education, and a further two per cent for social care.
It comes as part of budget-balancing proposals by the Conservative administration and would hit ‘Band A’ properties with a £53 annual rise.
For residents in the average ‘Band D’ home, the increase would mean paying an extra £79 from April.
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service could also increase bills by £5, while Nottingham City Council has opted for the maximum 4.99 per cent increase.
Individual district and borough councils will set out their plans in the coming weeks, with a maximum 2.99 per cent increase allowed on their portion of bills.
Mansfield District Council has this week frozen its precept for the coming year – the second consecutive year this decision was approved by the authority.
Caroline Henry (Con), the police and crime commissioner, is yet to outline her plans but is allowed to enforce a £15 rise for Band D homes.
The county council’s tax plans are part of the authority’s budget proposals for the next three financial years.
It comes amidst a backdrop of soaring inflation and a gap of £31.7m between now and 2026.
The authority says the 2023/24 budget required an extra £14m due to the current 40-year inflation rate above 10 per cent.
This has been offset in part by an extra £11.8m in Government support than previously forecast, as well as the use of £3.9m in reserves.
Over the course of the three-year budget, £49.7m will be taken from reserves.
Tory cabinet members gave their backing to the budget and the council tax plans when they met on Thursday morning (January 26).
During the meeting, Councillor Richard Jackson (Con), cabinet member for finance, said: “This is a budget we’re proud to be presenting to the council.
“It’s a budget that the services people rely on, doesn’t take the maximum council tax increase and balances the need for services.
“It continues improvements in services and investment in areas like highways.”
The meeting also heard from Cllr Kate Foale, leader of the Labour group, who questioned underfunding from the Government and the risk of using reserves.
She said: “We continue to be concerned about the level of funding for councils.
“In terms of the budget proposals, they don’t fully acknowledge that we’re in a very difficult situation and it’s going to get worse.
“Our residents really are worried, and they need to know we do share their concerns and we are campaigning hard for a better deal from Westminster.”
She added: “This is a dire situation and we’re having to dig deep into reserves to get us out of it.”
In response, Cllr Jackson added: “These are exceptional times that we’re in when you look at the global economy, inflation rates and all the rest of it.
“We’ve been told repeatedly to spend more reserves and in previous years we have resisted.
“At a time like this, which was always possible, we’re deploying them to soften the landing because that’s what they’re for.”
All councillors will meet on February 9 to discuss and approve the wider budget.
Both main opposition groups – Labour and the Independent Alliance – are expected to put forward alternative budget proposals.