Leicestershire County Council proposes 1.99 per cent council tax rise

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Leicestershire County Council’s ruling cabinet has proposed a 1.99 per cent council tax rise next year.

Today’s (Wednesday) cabinet meeting proposed the one-year move, as it reviewed its plans to save £120 million per year by 2018/19.

If the full council backs a 1.99 per cent rise in 2015/16, it would take the county council’s share of band D bills up by £21.15 to £1,084.15 – or an extra 41p per week.

Last month, the council proposed a 1.5 per cent council tax rise for each of the next four years.

Today’s proposal for a 1.99 per cent rise in 2015/16 would raise £4.8m, or £1.2m more than a 1.5 per cent rise.

At this stage, it is still proposed to have a 1.5 per cent rise in the remaining three years, subject to the next Government’s funding settlement.

Deputy council leader and finance spokesman Byron Rhodes said: “Last month, we proposed a 1.5 per cent tax rise, after four years of council tax freezes. However, that was before the Government’s funding announcement, later in December.

“In the light of our funding problems – with a £16.4m or 12.8 per cent grant reduction in the next year alone – we’re proposing to seek a 1.99 per cent rise next year. The Government’s capping limit is two per cent.”

A County Hall spokesman said: “The latest budget says £91m has to be saved over the four years starting next April – and proposals are being developed to cover £82m of this. There is a £9m shortfall within the savings target and the proposed council tax rise will help to reduce this.”

Talks have been held with MPs about the council’s funding situation.

Mr Rhodes said: “In the past few weeks we’ve had meetings with Leicestershire MPs, who have been very understanding and helpful, and are pressing our case for fair funding with the Government.”

Council scrutiny committees will examine the proposals through January, before the full council takes a final decision on the budget and council tax on February 18.