No decision on county council’s tax plans but authorities likely to raise bills ‘to some degree’

County Hall in West Bridgford.
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

No decision has been made on whether Nottinghamshire County Council will raise its council tax bills next year.

This is despite councils being told by the Government they can raise bills by more next year than in previous years as they look to balance books and tackle soaring inflation.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last week told local authorities such as the county council their maximum council tax rise would be five per cent in April.

This includes three per cent for standard services and two per cent for the ringfenced adult social care precept.

In the previous financial year, the threshold was two per cent and one per cent respectively.

If the Conservative-led council opted for the full five per cent rise, it could mean an £82.20 annual increase overall for its portion of the bill on a ‘Band D’ home.

District and borough councils would also have the power to raise their bills by three per cent, equating to £5.30 for a Band D home in Broxtowe, for example.

The police and crime commissioner and the Nottinghamshire Fire Authority also have the power to increase precepts on households.

But the county council says no decisions on whether to take its full amount have been made as the authority awaits Whitehall guidance on grant support.

Councils are expected to be told how much they will receive from the Government on December 21.

It’s as Councillor Richard Jackson (Con), portfolio holder for finance, revealed the authority’s total budget pressure for 2023/24 is £41m.

Actions to claw back cash include reducing in-year spending and exploring service ‘transformation’ to cut demand in areas like social care and children’s support.

At present, the authority is only forecasting to be overspent by less than one per cent on the 2022/23 budget approved in February.

But financial pressure is being fuelled by a 41-year high inflation rate of 11.1 per cent, causing gaps that need to be filled in the budget for next year.

Cllr Jackson previously warned savings and council tax rises could be on the horizon to fill gaps if greater Government grant support is not forthcoming.

And, when quizzed about it again during the full council meeting on Thursday (November 24), he said it’s too early to say what his taxation plans will be.

However, he did warn most councils locally and nationally are likely to propose council tax increases “to some degree”.

He said: “The autumn statement gave a pretty clear steer for what councils will be allowed to do in terms of council tax and the referendum limits.

“We haven’t made any decisions yet and nor will we until December 21 when we know the substance of our local government settlement.

“I would be surprised if there are any councils locally and probably nationally that aren’t going to increase council tax to some degree.

“But what I would say is that, with inflation running at more than 10 per cent, there are councils across this country overspending by tens of millions.

“This only adds to the problems next year and the likelihood of council tax increases.

“We’re not one of those councils and we’re within half a per cent of the budget set back in February. It gives us options for the next two or three years.”

His comments came in response to a council tax question from Cllr Francis Purdue-Horan (Ind), a former Tory who now sits with the Independent Alliance.

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