Melton Council approves 1.9% council tax rise

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Melton Council has approved a 1.9 per cent rise in council tax and an average 2.09 per cent rent increase.

The rise - the authority’s first increase since 2010 - equates to an extra £2.86 per year (from £150.48 to £153.34), or less than six pence per week for the average Band D home.

At a full council meeting last night (Wednesday), 19 councillors present voted in favour of the 1.9 per cent rise, with five abstaining. Four councillors were unable to attend.

Council leader Byron Rhodes said the council tax rise would provide extra revenue to support the continued delivery of key services.

He said: “With the continuation of significant cuts in Central Government support, in order to ensure key services continue to be delivered the council is proposing to increase the council tax for the first time in five years.

“It has been a significant achievement in the previous years to maintain a council tax freeze, given the recent economic climate, and demonstrates how well this council maintains its finances.”

Mr Rhodes said that for 2015/16 there has been a further reduction of 28.2 per cent in the main grant the authority receives from the Government - equating to a £401,000 loss for Melton.

Since 2011/12 the council has seen a reduction in Central Government funding of 57 per cent - which equates to £2.2 million.

Independent councillor Elaine Holmes, one of the five members who abstained when it came to the vote, voiced her concerns about council tenants being hit by a ‘double whammy’ by having to fork out an extra two percent in rent plus the 1.9 per cent rise in council tax.

She said: “It’s a lot of money, because it’s a double-whammy, and these people are going to be paying a lot more than anyone else. Quite often these people who pay council house rent are older and it’s quite hard for them.”

Leicestershire County Council has already proposed to increase its share of the council tax by 1.99 per cent, taking it share of Band D bills up by £21.15 to £1,084.15 per year (or an extra 41p pw. The full council will make a final decision on its budget and council tax on Wednesday, February 18.

A proposal to increase the policing portion of the council tax by 1.99 per cent, proposed by Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Clive Loader, has also been approved by the Police and Crime Panel. The rise equates to £3.51 per year for a Band D home (or less than 7p pw).

The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Combined Fire Authority is set to decide its council tax level on Wednesday, February 11.