Council tax set to increase as more multi-million pound Government cuts bite
With Government grant cuts to councils expected to continue, which have forced some councils to near bankruptcy, Telford & Wrekin will press ahead with its financial plans in 2019.
The Council’s robust financial planning means it intends to continue with its plans to raise council tax by 3.2% from April 2019 to help offset the latest multi-million pound cut in Government grant which is expected to be confirmed in the delayed settlement for local government.
Despite the planned increase, Telford & Wrekin is expected to still have one of the lowest council tax rates in the Midlands – it currently has the lowest – and is expected to stay among the lowest council tax unitary councils in the country.
This council tax increase, subject to final council approval, would be equivalent to an extra 60p a week for the average borough Band B home.
By the end of this year the Council will have taken £117 million from its budget, due to cuts following the Government’s austerity programme.
All of next year’s planned rise is to support adult social care and childrens services which together account for nearly 70% of council spend.
The Council is doing everything it can to offset the impact of cuts. Its commercial services will this year generate over £19 million income.
Cllr Lee Carter, cabinet member for finance, said: “We will continue our budget plans that we set out following consultation at the Council meeting last March.
“Last year many councils with social services responsibilities raised council tax by almost 6%. We have instead chosen more gradual increases of 3.2% in 2018 and 2019 but make no mistake we are very aware of the impact that this huge bill has on households in the borough.
“Sadly the state of local government finances after years of cuts in Government grants is that we are in the crazy situation where because of the growing pressures on areas such as care for vulnerable adults and looked after children, despite us increasing council tax, we still have to make cuts in our budget and services.”
“Rightly people will ask why they should pay more for less but Government is cutting grants to councils and expecting council tax payers to shoulder a greater share of the cost of council services.
“We are doing as much as we can by introducing plans to help ease the cost pressures on adults and looked after children’s services in particular. But the cost of providing these services and the numbers needing support are growing as are the charges we have to pay to private sector care providers as they face increasing cost pressures.
“It is a very serious state of affairs. Every day residents are now seeing the impact that cuts in Government funding are having on their local hospital, their local police force and their local council.”
“I will also be asking the borough’s MPs to join us in helping to fight these latest cuts in Government grant here, as other MPs in Shropshire have successfully done for Shropshire Council, and campaign together for fair funding for our borough.”