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Lincolnshire County Council votes in favour of tax rises

Lincolnshire County Council has voted to increase its share of council tax by 4.95 per cent.

The amount- equivalent to a £58 increase on a Band D property - is just shy of the maximum five per cent allowed by central government without triggering a referendum.

With such properties paying £1,231, this means Lincolnshire has the third lowest council tax in the country.

In his budget speech, council leader Martin Hill cited continued falls in core funding from central government.

Revenue Support Grant was to drop £14m a year over the next two years. Since the start of the decade, it had dropped 90 per cent from £211 million to an expected £20 million in 2019.

Government is to allow councils a greater share of business rates revenue, but more savings are still needed.

Coun Hill said: “The council intends to spend £455 million on services in 2018/19 and just slightly less the following year.

“We intend to find savings of £4m over the next two years on top of the £290m already achieved since 2011.”

Such savings would help the council meet “unavoidable cost pressures of about £52 million” to help it meet rising social care needs and funding the higher National Living wage without extra government support.

The council has received £1.7m from the government’s Pothole Action Fund - enough to tackle an extra 30,000 potholes.

n The continuing rollout of superfast broadband, extra support for more vulnerable residents and improvements in educational facilities all form part of Rutland County Council’s budget for 2018/19.

It was agreed at the full council meeting that the main portion of Rutland’s council tax bill will increase by 4.99 per cent, which is just below allowable increase.

This includes the Government’s social care levy of two per cent, which will be spent entirely on meeting the rising costs of support for more vulnerable residents. This includes services for older people, as well as residents who need mental health support or have a disability.

This is in line with increases being made by approximately 90 per cent of local authorities in England.

In Rutland, this takes the average Band D bill to £1,624 – an increase of £77 per year. People on low incomes will be shielded from much of the increase, paying on average £19.24 extra per year.

The budget includes money for the rollout of super-fast broadband. By the end of the year 95 out of 100 homes in Rutland will have access to some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK.

It also includes funding for the expansion of Oakham Enterprise Park, £700,000 for improving special educational facilities, while £221,000 will be spent on adapting homes for older people.

This year the Government has cut Rutland’s funding by £1.2m, while costs because of inflation have gone up by £1.3m. The increase in council tax will only meet part of this shortfall, with the remainder coming from savings in the way services are delivered more efficiently.

Since 2013 the council has lost £4m in government funding, while rising demand for services and inflation has increased costs by £10.5m.

This year a charge of £35 per bin for green waste collection is being introduced.

Leader of Rutland County Council Oliver Hemsley (Con) said: “Increasing council tax is not something that we do lightly. Rutland, like all councils, is facing the perfect storm of increased costs and loss of government funding.

“We are doing everything possible to shield our community from this by becoming a much more efficient council in the way services are delivered.”


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