Council Tax to increase in line with residents’ feedback

Telford & Wrekin Council is set to listen to the views of residents and stick to its original plan to increase the Council Tax by 3.2% each year for the next three years.

Council Tax to increase in line with residents’ feedback

It will instead stick to its original plan to increase the Council Tax by 3.2% each year for the next three years – 1.2% of the increase in in general Council Tax with the remaining 2% ring fenced for Adult Social Care.

The Council has carried out a public consultation on options to increase the Social Care precept component of bills following a Government announcement in December.

The majority view from members of the public who responded to the council’s budget consultation was that the council should keep the level of increase to 3.2% per year.

This is also in line with the recommendation made by the Council’s Finance and Enterprise scrutiny committee.

The council’s cabinet is expected to approve the increase when it meets on Thursday February 23 to discuss an in-depth Service and Financial Planning report.

The report outlines expected expenditure in the coming financial year with a range of different investments coming forward to improve the borough.

This includes an extra £780,000 for adult social care and increases in the budgets for the safeguarding of children, partly funded by an increase in revenue from business rates.

The Council has also set out its investment programme as it pursues growth in the local economy and income from Commercial Services run by the Council as it tries to mitigate the worst effects of government cuts.

The investment programme includes proposals to upgrade roads, bridges and footpaths, launch borough wide regeneration schemes, undertake a new phase of the successful Pride in Your Community programme and invest in building capacity in the voluntary sector.

The Council is also looking to continue with its successful Growth Programme which has so far seen over 1,000 jobs created borough through the council investing in providing facilities and opportunities for existing and new business in the town.

It also includes £13m for the council’s housing investment programme Nuplace. Other investments include £275,000 to be spent on marketing Telford as a destination attraction and £700,000 for a partnership capacity fund aimed at encouraging the community to run services on the council’s behalf to generate long term savings for Council Tax payers.

Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Council Finance, Partnerships and Commercial Services, said: “The fact that the council is still waiting for final information from the government on our Revenue Support Grant hasn’t helped our ability to plan ahead.

“However, we’ve put together a budget based on what we know taking into account all the feedback from the public consultation and the observations of our scrutiny committee.

“The answer to the long term funding situation in Adult Social Care is beyond the power of Telford & Wrekin Council. It is a crisis of national proportions and cannot be solved by a token gesture increase in Council Tax which hits the poorest the hardest. We will be lobbying hard along with other Councils to make the case for a fair funding solution from Government.

“Times continue to be very challenging. We can either sit back, just make the savings and not care about the consequences for our residents or we can be creative, determined and committed to making Telford and Wrekin the very best place to live, work and visit that it can possibly be which is why we’ve taken steps to identify where investment is needed.

“Subject to cabinet approval, this will see us commit significant funding to improve the wellbeing of our residents and the infrastructure of our borough. More business, better conditions for our residents means either more money for the Council or less demand on our services and ultimately a better level of service than one would expect.”

The council has reduced the number of jobs by 1,520 since April 2010, saving around £28m per year. This has seen 645 vacant posts deleted and 875 redundancies. The size of the senior management team has also reduced by 57 per cent, which is more than twice the national average reduction.