Borough hikes council tax to fund its spending
COUNCIL tax will rise by 4.2 percent in a Notts borough – one of the biggest rises in the country.
Rushcliffe borough councillors voted through the tax hike, which they say will help pay for the authority's spending proposals.
The increase will mean householders in a Band D property will pay the borough council £117.99 a year from April, an increase of £4.77.
Since council tax is made up of payments to Notts County Council, the police and fire service, in addition to the borough council, the total annual tax bill for a band D property in Rushcliffe will increase from £1,542.50 to £1550.51.
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Claire Maguire, of Musters Road, West Bridgford, said she was surprised the council was increasing her bills.
The 25-year-old said: "Councils like Rushcliffe were offered money (from the Government) to stop council tax from rising and I think it would be better to take it like other places have.
"Our finances are quite tight at the moment and we are counting the pennies. I haven't had a pay rise for a while and nor has my husband, so we'll have to cut back on something else to pay the extra. No-one wants to be paying more when the services will still be the same."
The Department for Communities and Local Government had said councils would need a referendum to increase council tax bills by more than two per cent. Many authorities that have increased council tax have ducked just below this figure, such as Nottingham City Council, which decided to increase rates by 1.95 per cent earlier this week.
But Local Government minister Brandon Lewis has said that the 50 lowest taxing authorities – including Rushcliffe – could increase rates by more than this to deal with funding issues in the future.
As part of the budget plans, the council agreed to spend £1.8 million on replacing vehicles such as bin lorries and vans as well as helping with large projects such as the A453 and bringing broadband to rural areas.
Council leader Neil Clarke said: "Over the past two years inflation has increased by approximately seven percent. We have, through innovation, challenge and prudent management, been able to save over £2.5 million and freeze the council tax.
"However, the council now needs to start to look to the future. In December, the Government finally recognised that prudent, efficient councils face a challenge to make savings without impacting on services.
"As a result, I have recommended a modest increase in council tax that will see bills for the majority of increase by under ten pence per week."
Increasing the council tax means Rushcliffe has an additional £186,000 per annum, £131,000 more than is available from the council tax freeze grant. In addition, this funding is a guaranteed element of the council's funding in future years.