Families in Newcastle borough will have to pay even more council tax from April after being hit by rises across the board.
Newcastle Borough Council approved a 2.55 per cent council tax rise by 24 votes to 17.
That will now be added to increases already approved by Staffordshire County Council (3.99 per cent), Staffordshire Police(3.94 per cent) and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (1.99 per cent). Any rises from town and parish councils are yet to be revealed.
The borough council rubber-stamped its 2020/21 budget as it attempts to plug a forecasted £1.25 million shortfall. It expects to net £187,000 in additional income from the council tax hike.
This means taxpayers living in a Band A property will see their council tax bill rise by £3.33 over the course of the year – or seven pence per week. The council tax charged on a Band D property will go up to £201.14 from £196.14.
The raise comes as the council announced it had spent £484,747 more than planned between October and December.
The local authority says its proposal will avoid any redundancies. It includes a £250,000 investment into the Growth Fund, which will look at improving town centres and modernising council services. This time, the scheme will also address environmental issues.
Spending in the latest proposals tops £24 million, including:
- £3.15 million towards reopening Kidsgrove sports centre;
- £4.7 million on improving recycling;
- Almost £1 million on modernising council services.
A pre-budget consultation attracted 370 comments.
Property band Annual increase from last year
A £134.09 £3.33
B £156.44 £3.89
C £178.78 £4.44
D £201.14 £5.00
E £245.84 £6.11
F £290.53 £7.22
G £335.22 £8.32
H £402.28 £10.00
Council leader Simon Tagg said: “We are keeping council tax low and low by any measure. The budget before us tonight includes provision for another boost of the council’s reserves and contingencies, from £1.5 million to £1.9 million over the next few years.
“In this budget, we are investing in our aspirations for our borough and its future. This next year we will use an effective use of the capital receipts policy to put £250,000 into the budget growth fund to support priorities.
“With the growth fund, which was set up last year, we will continue to invest in the borough’s future, moving away from destructive salami slicing budgets of the previous administration.”
The Labour Group put forward an amendment that asked the council to consider investing more of its growth fund into local companies, but it was voted down.
Labour group leader Kyle Robinson said: “The proposals we have put forward as a group are reasonable and fair. The amendment recognises this is a very difficult time for local government and highlights the woeful underfunding of councils by the Government.
“On the issue of investment, of course we aren’t against investing in our local community, but the proposals that are in the strategy quite frankly gives this administration a blank cheque to simply invest in schemes that may not be in Newcastle or Staffordshire and the risk around this is huge.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Marion Reddish voted in favour of the budget. Her group recently shrank from three members to two when Audley councillor Ian Wilkes defected to the Conservative group at the end of January.