North Yorkshire Council Considers £21 Yearly Council Tax Rise
7:10pm 5th December 2013
(Updated 7:42pm 5th December 2013)
Families in North Yorkshire could have to pay the county council an extra £21 a year as it considers putting up council tax by 2%.
If the county council does not increase it's share of the council tax, it will have to cut a further £2.3 million on top of a £94 million savings package for 2011-15 and a further £77 million for 2015-19.
It comes after three years in which the county council has accepted the government's council tax freeze. A grant worth the same as a 1% council tax freeze for each of the next two years is on offer, but the county council is considering turning it down.
Leader of North Yorkshire County Council Conservative John Weighell said:
“Naturally we would prefer not to present the taxpayers of North Yorkshire with an increase in their bills,”
“That is why, since the budget of February 2011, we have frozen council tax, even though the financial consequences for the authority have been significant.”
“However, we have reached the point where accepting [the council tax freeze] presents us with a financial challenge which we believe may be unacceptable,”
“We are on track to save £94m over the four years ending in March 2015, and we estimate we already have to find a further £77m over the next four years. This represents a cut in our spending power of more than a third in eight years.
“In the four years ending March 2015, frontline services have been protected as much as possible, with just under two thirds of our savings coming from non-frontline budgets.
“But at the same time as it has cut back on its budgets, the council has seen a significant rise in demand for its services. For example, there has been a 75% increase in child protection cases, and at the other end of the age-range, more than a quarter of the adult population of North Yorkshire is over the age of 65. Every year, the population of older people increases, and with it the demand for the care and support which the council provides.”
“A rise of 2% is equivalent to £21 a year or 41p a week for the average household,Whilst any increase is regrettable, it is my belief that such a relatively small rise in individual tax bills, following three years of tax freezes, would be reasonable.”
Views on a possible council tax rise will be taken through the county council website and through the North Yorkshire Citizens’ Panel, a panel of around 2,000 people living in the county. People can also contact their local councillors to give their opinions.
Labour-run City of York Council put up it's council tax by 2% last year, It's leader James Alexander has claimed North Yorkshire is following the city's lead saying:
“I have been saying for two years the Conservative Liberal Democrat Government is encouraging a ‘buy now, pay later’ attitude to council finances which will mean larger increases in council tax in the future or more cuts. Increasingly councils like North Yorkshire are beginning to wake to this fact.
“Through rejecting the Government’s ‘buy now, pay later’ option we have managed to protect £2.7m of front line services this year in elderly care and looked after children. Our Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition opposed this and saying the decision was simply political. I am sure decisions like this from Conservative North Yorkshire show this was never the case; this was about protecting services.”
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