£1 a week Council Tax rise proposed for Melton residents

Leicestershire County Council headquarters at Glenfield EMN-190131-180627001
Leicestershire County Council headquarters at Glenfield EMN-190131-180627001
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Council Tax payers in Melton borough who live in average Band D properties face paying an extra £1 a week for the Leicestershire County Council element of their bill.

County Hall plans to raise its share of the tax by 3.99 per cent for the next year and says the extra £12m that it would generate across the county will help support vulnerable people, with most of it helping a growing number of adult social care service users and children in care.

The final Council Tax bill will also be made up of contributions to Melton Borough Council, the police and fire services and precepts for parish councils.

The county council’s proposals are part of it’s final budget plan for the next four years, which provides for spending £94m and making savings of £74m, representing a budget gap of £20m.

The authority says its financial situation continues to be challenging with the need to make savings on special educational needs and disability (SEND) costs by providing more school places locally, recruiting more in-house foster carers to reduce expensive placements, cutting back on adult social care services and reducing back office costs by using more digtial technology.

Deputy council leader, Byron Rhodes, said: “Our four-year plan is a stark reminder that pressure is building.

“A combination of surging demand, especially for SEND support, and rising wage and inflation costs ups our spend by £94m.

“Add uncertainty over national funding into the mix and we could see more trouble ahead.”

The council able to afford a number of key one-off investments, however, such as helping pay for the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) to provide a relief road around the north and east of the town, plus other highway schemes, creating new school places, developing supported living for adults with disabilities and rolling out superfast broadband.

Councillor Rhodes added: “Unlike many other councils, we are in control of our destiny and can set a balanced budget for two years before shortfalls arise. “Our successful bid to government to keep more business rates locally has unlocked an extra £6m for us and we’re able to inject one-off cash into supporting roads, the economy and extending broadband roll out.

“National funding reform remains key for future plans.

“It’s simply not right that we’re bottom of the pile.

“If we were funded at the same level as Camden, we’d receive an extra £330m a year.

“We’ve secured a government review and are continuing to do all we can to shape the new funding formula and get a better deal for our residents.”

Just over 200 residents, businesses and parish councils responded to a consultation on the council’s budget plans between December 18 January 20.

The final proposals will be discussed by the cabinet on Friday February 8 before the budget is approved by the county council on February 20.

Go online at www.leicestershire.gov.uk/webcast to watch the council meeting when members discuss the budget next week.