Melton families face hefty council tax rise

council tax bill gv pic 3 hires PPP-150721-115301001
council tax bill gv pic 3 hires PPP-150721-115301001
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Council tax in the Melton borough is set to rise this year by an average of more than £53 for a band D property.

The average total bill for a family is expected to rise from £1,535.09 to 1,589.08 - an overall increase of 3.52 per cent.

Leicestershire County Council was set to increase its share of council tax by 3.99 per cent, increasing its share of band D household bills by £43.25 to £1,127.40 per year from April.

Melton Council is set to increase its average council tax by a flat rate of £5 a year after proposing a 2.76 per cent increase in order to support the continued delivery of key services. This amounts to an increase of just under 10p per week for an average borough council band D property.

Leicestershire and Rutland’s police and crime commissioner Sir Clive Loader’s final budget was approved this month which will mean an extra £3.58 a year on bills for band D properties. The 1.99 per cent increase in the police’s share of the council tax bill (extra 7p per week) takes the total police portion to £183.58.

And the Combined Fire Authority has agreed to increase its share of the council tax by 1.97 per cent, meaning a band D property will pay an extra £1.19 a year (2p per week), rising from £60.43 to £61.62.

Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire County Council has finalised its plans to save £26.7 million next year and was yesterday set to increase its share of council tax by 3.99 per cent.

The council needs to save £78.3m over the next four years but still has to identify £19.5m of cuts. Identified savings include proposed cuts to bus subsidies, waste sites and public health work.

An estimated 500 full-time jobs will also be cut on top of the 900 lost over the last five years.

Deputy leader Byron Rhodes said: “Following years of savings this is the toughest budget the council has faced and services will be hit.”

Earlier this month the Government announced it would be giving the county council an extra £6.6m over the next four years but Mr Rhodes warned that the authority ‘still faced tough decisions’. He added: “I hope the Government moves quickly to review the funding system, which is broken. It cannot be right that other counties receive millions more than Leicestershire each year.”

Melton Borough Council

Following recent funding announcements Melton is looking at a further loss of Government grant of £933,000 between 2015/16 and 2019/20 which is a 42 per cent reduction in the main grant the council receives from the Government. This is in addition to the previous reductions of £1.9m or 57 per cent over the period 2010/11 to 2015/16.

In order to help rural councils like Melton manage these future cuts in grant the Government has allowed them to increase their average council tax by a flat rate of £5 a year.

Therefore, due to the ongoing funding pressures being faced, Melton Council is set to approve a 2.76 per cent increase in council tax in order to ensure key services continue to be delivered. The announced cuts in Government funding and the uncertainties around further reductions yet to come mean the council is also looking at how it can reduce costs further while protecting services valued by the public.

Council leader Byron Rhodes said: “We still have a deteriorating financial position we have to resolve but it is in no way a crisis.

“Clearly the council will now have to take significant action to avoid these reductions eating up reserves and plunging us into deficit. By 2019/20 we are looking a deficit in year of £863,000 which we cannot allow to come about.

“To cope with this problem I propose, firstly, a root and branch examination of all our programmes and costs to determine what we really need to do and what is no longer effective or possible. The chief executive has already started this work and will also consider measures to improve our income streams from other sources.

“Secondly, to protect our existing income and improve our revenue position, I propose we take advantage of a concession announced by the Secretary of State in respect of council tax and increase ours by £5 in 2016/17. “The impact of that would be to improve our income by £28,000 per year. I hope council tax payers will understand and accept this necessary measure.”

Leicestershire Police

Police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Leicestershire and Rutland Sir Clive Loader believes his final budget as will leave Leicestershire Police on a sound financial footing and give them the resources it needs to tackle big issues such as child sexual exploitation, cyber-crime and counter-acting extremism.

Earlier this month the county’s Police and Crime Panel agreed to support a policing budget of £170.840m for 2016/17.

It will mean a 1.99 per cent rise in the police precept part of council tax bills but Sir Clive is confident he has the support of local people.

A survey of more than 1,100 people conducted by Sir Clive’s office found more than 80 per cent said they were prepared to pay more in the council tax towards policing.

He said: “My priority is to provide the chief constable with an appropriate level of resources to further enhance public safety in the future, building on work already under way and enabling new and emerging policing challenges to be tackled effectively. That is what the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland want to see.”

Sir Clive, who announced last year that he wouldn’t be standing for re-election in May, said he could have taken the ‘easier option’ and not increased council tax bills. But he added: “I see it as my duty not to handcuff my successor PCC with financial uncertainty and risk and I believe this budget is the right one for Leicestershire Police.”

Combined Fire Authority

Combined Fire Authority bosses said its proposed tax council tax of £61.62 for 2016/17, an increase of just below two per cent on 2015/16, ‘remained in the lower quartile of combined fire authorities nationally’.

The authority says it is facing ‘severe’ Government grant funding cuts which had forced it to make savings.

Earlier this month fire chiefs approved cost-cutting measures including contentious plans to replace Melton’s on-call engine with a smaller tactical response vehicle (TRV).

For more details see the story on page 10.