Council tax hikes look increasingly likely

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Hikes in tax bills across the area look increasingly likely as a string of options have been approved.

On Monday, members of South Kesteven District Council’s executive approved a recommendation that there should be an increase in council tax of £5 for Band D.

This will mean a 3.58 per cent increase in council tax in South Kesteven for 2016/17 if it is given final approval by the council at its meeting on Monday, February 29.

The council will also be recommended to approve a General Fund budget requirement of £12.403m for 2016/17.

Richard Wyles, the council’s corporate finance manager, told the meeting that the council had consulted widely with residents and businesses in the district over the proposed council tax increase.

He said 51 per cent of those who took part supported an increase and had an understanding of why the council proposed the increase. Mr Wyles said nine per cent of people were ‘indifferent’ and he said those against were concerned that the increase would be more than inflation.

Council chief executive Beverly Agass said it was a ‘very difficult time in terms of local government funding’ for the council and it had worked hard to make sure it remained self-sufficient in future.

The meeting was told that with significant cuts in Government funding, the council will be making a ‘more commerical approach in future’ to bring in income.

Last year Mrs Agass said the council has decided to set up a local authority controlled company as a result of reduction in Government grants, and to meet a need for more housing.

The company will generate profits for the district council so it can continue to deliver its services. The council said it would be for the benefit of service users.

Lincolnshire County Council’s wants to increase its portion of the tax bill by 3.95 per cent. If this is approved on Friday next week, it will spell an increase of between £20 and £100 per year for householders depending on the types of properties they live in.

And on Friday last week, the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel approved a rise in its portion of the council tax of 1.96 per cent - the equivalent of seven pence a week for a Band D property.

Meanwhile in Rutland, the area’s police and crime panel approved a 1.99 per cent in the police precept part of council tax bills - again 7p a week extra for the average Band D property. The overall policing budget for Leicestershire and Rutland will be £170.840m for 2016/17.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Clive Loader believes this leaves the force on a “sound financial footing”.

The Combined Fire Authority for Leicestershire and Rutland has also agreed a 1.97 per cent increase to council tax, which means a two pence per week increase on the council tax for a Band D property.

And Rutland County Council looks set to approve a 3.99 per cent increase when it meets on Monday, February 22, after cabinet approved the recommendation this week. The rise, the first in six years, is equivalent to £1.10 per week for Band D properties.