COUNCIL tax is set to rise by three percent next year and a funding black hole of £3million still needs to be closed, Worcestershire County Council’s draft budget plans reveal.
The Conservative leadership at County Hall has said the 2.94 per cent rise was needed to help cover the rising costs of adult social care, and to support the council’s everyday spending.
Council chiefs have taken advantage of the Government’s ‘adult social care precept,’ which allows councils to raise council tax by an extra two per cent, generating £4million, ring-fenced purely to support elderly and vulnerable people.
This means residents living in average band D properties can expect their bills to rise by £33 next year, whilst those in larger band H homes will see a £65.99 increase and bills for residents in smaller band A properties will rise by £22.
Details of the rise emerged in the County Council’s draft budget proposals, voted through by the Cabinet today (Thursday), also revealed a £2.9million funding gap still needs to be closed by the time full council votes on the plans in February.
Also announced in the budget includes a congestion busting plan to spend £5million next year on tackling the county’s hotspots, an extra £1million to improve roads in need of repair, and a £6million fund to be spent over the next two years on improving pavements.
Coun Simon Geraghty, Leader of Worcestershire County Council, said: “This is a budget shaped around what residents tell us are most important to them. Time and time again people tell us that their priorities are maintaining the highway, safeguarding vulnerable children and protecting vulnerable adults.
“Council Tax rates in Worcestershire are below the national average and will continue to be in the bottom quarter of councils across the country.
“We are proposing an increase of 2.94% for next year which equates to less than 10p per day. Two per cent of the increase will be ring-fenced to help older people in Worcestershire live independently for longer.”
Labour Group opposition leader, Coun Peter McDonald, said: “This increase coming just a year after a four per cent increase will cripple a great number of families.
“Over the last four years all we have had is one increase after another with the promise things will improve in the future.
“It would seem those in control at Worcestershire County Council are not in the real world, for I am finding it difficult to find anyone who has had increases in their wages to offset the year after year increase in the council tax.”
Worcestershire County Council
Breakdown of Council Tax by Council Tax Band
Band 2017/18 charge Increase
A £770.21 £22
B £898.57 £25.66
C £1,026.94 £29.33
D £1,155.31 £33.00
E £1,412.04 £40.33
F £1,668.78 £47.66
G £1,925.51 £54.99
H £2,310.62 £65.99