Mansfield District Council approves tax freeze for all homes in April

Mansfield District Council's headquarters
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

District council tax for Mansfield residents will be frozen for the year from April.

The Labour-run council rubber-stamped the move during the full council meeting on Tuesday (January 24) alongside wider budget proposals.

It means people living in ‘Band A’ homes, which make up the majority of Mansfield households, will continue to pay the council £129.81 from April.

The average ‘Band D’ home will continue to pay £194.72 per year.

It’s the second successive year the authority has frozen its precepts and comes as the council looks to help residents during the cost of living crisis.

However, the freeze does not mean residents in Mansfield will not pay more when their overall council tax bills arrive in March.

Conservative-run Nottinghamshire County Council is proposing a 4.84 per cent rise on its portion of the bill, working out at about £53 more for Band A homes.

The Nottinghamshire Fire Authority, which prepares budgets for the fire service, is also proposing a £5 increase for all homes.

And police and crime commissioner Caroline Henry (Con), who is yet to outline her plans, could also propose an increase.

Mansfield Council’s decision follows a higher-than-expected Government settlement for the coming financial year which helped to reduce its financial black hole.

The authority had initially expected a gap of £1.9m in 2023/24 but this was reduced to £1.339m following last month’s Whitehall announcement.

The gaps are fuelled by £332,000 in extra electricity costs and a further £254,000 in gas increases fuelled by the ongoing energy crisis.

The council has also been required to pay out £802,000 in extra staff wages following a nationally agreed £1,925 rise for all council employees in England.

Confirmation of the extra Government grants led to a significant change in the authority’s cost-cutting plans, including less cash being taken from reserves.

Under the proposals, approved by all councillors on Tuesday, £305,000 in corporate reserves will be used to plug the gap.

This is down from the initial plan of £473,000, while the use of general fund cash will now be £222,000 rather than £247,000.

Planned establishment changes have also been reduced from £755,000 to £651,000 in savings.

And the authority will no longer rely on cash from its Wildflower Rise development, off Windmill Lane, with £250,000 to be pushed into later years.

Other plans include £8,000 in service reductions and £142,000 from income generation, as well as a 10 per cent reduction in councillors’ special responsibility allowances.

The latter measure has been taken by the council in previous years and will bring a further £16,000 in savings.

However, the extra Government income means the council will put £50,000 into an economic stimulus fund to drive growth in the town.

Speaking in Tuesday’s meeting, Councillor Craig Whitby (Lab), cabinet member for finance, said: “Last year, members supported our motion to declare a cost of living emergency.

“With no end in sight to the current economic pressures our residents face, we’ve taken the decision to freeze our element of the council tax for a second consecutive year.

“This is not a decision taken lightly and I’m acutely aware of the pressures it will have on the future revenue of the council.

“But we are in a situation where our residents are counting for every single penny so we have decided the time is right to extend the freeze.”

The council tax proposals were unanimously backed by all councillors in the chamber.

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