In a bid to avoid cuts to vital services Nottinghamshire councillors are considering recommending a 39p a week increase on the average Council Tax bill.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Finance and Property Committee are due to meet on 9 February to discuss possible tax increases and proposals for changes in council services.
Following the council’s ‘Doing things differently’ budget consultation, an increase of 1.99% was supported by the majority of residents who responded to the consultation.
The increase could mean many vital services are not cut in the county as the 39p a week increase would raise £16.5m over the next three years.
Services where the cost is equivalent to the money raised by the tax increase:
- providing care for almost 20,000 vulnerable children.
- keeping the 95,000 street lights and traffic signals in the county switched on until 2018.
- providing care and support for 36,500 adults with learning difficulties.
The Council must cut £77m from its annual budget by 2017/2018 if it is to balance its books and this tax increase would put the council in line with most County Council authorities.
Labour councillor David Kirkham, chairman of the Finance and Property Committee at the County Council, said:
Freezing Council Tax would mean deeper cuts to vital services, especially those to the most vulnerable in our communities.
He added: “We are faced with the perfect storm of substantial cuts to Government grants at a time of increasing demand for services and significant new duties under the Care Act.
“So, in common with most Councils, the only way we can protect many of our services is to ask local people to contribute a little extra.”
According to Cllr Kirkham, further reductions in Government spending are projected in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, with a total reduction of £92m from the council in four years.
The council is to propose new creative ways of delivering services in order to save, although some cuts to services may be inevitable.
Changes in services could see more investments in new ways to enable older people and those with disabilities to live independently for longer.
However Conservative councillor for Ruddington ward, Reg Adair, has blasted the potential proposals.
We are totally against it.
Cllr Adair added: “We don’t believe Council Tax payers should be charged extra.
“It’s completely unfair to tax payers when the government already gives the council a substantial amount of money.”
A full council will make all final budget proposals including the tax increase on 26 February this year.
More information can be found on the Nottingham County Council website.