Council tax will increase by 3.99%

Council agree on 3.99 per cent increase
Council agree on 3.99 per cent increase

A unanimous agreement has been made by councillors to increase council tax by 3.99 per cent in 2016/17.

Having previously been frozen, this is the first council tax increase in six years.

At a special budget meeting of full council, members unanimously agreed to increase the council’s part of the council tax bill which sees an increase of £48.37 a year for Band D properties.

This is the first time in 20 years members of all political parties were in agreement with the proposals.

Each year until 2019/20, the council's financial plan forecasts that it needs to deliver £60.5 million of base budget savings to meet government funding reductions, inflation and service pressures.

Proposed savings identified over the next four years total £43.7million – leaving a shortfall of £16.8million to be found. Without the proposed council tax increase this shortfall would increase to £39.6million.

Councillor Stephen Parnaby, OBE, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “This council has frozen council tax for five successive years but the recent round of Government cuts were much more aggressive than anticipated and has made freezing council tax for a sixth year an unviable option.

“In fact, the Government have assumed local authorities will increase council tax when determining how much to cut their funding by, in effect forcing our hand.

“Maintaining adult and children’s services in 2016/17 is essential and will be enabled through the 3.99 per cent increase to council tax and the use of earmarked reserves that were established to support these services during a time of reduced budgets, alongside savings generated through business transformation.”

The council tax increase for 2016/17 includes a new charge of two per cent to fund the increasing costs of adult social care.

The cost of adult social care is estimated to increase by £20million over the next four years.

The Government has recognised that this increased demand cannot be met without additional funding and have introduced the social care precept. This charge will be shown separately on the council tax bill and must be spent on adult social care.

However, the adult social care precept will only meet 55 per cent of the expected increase in demand and costs for adult social care over the next four years.

In order to ensure a balanced budget in 2016/17, savings of £22.3million have been identified, bringing the total savings made by the council to over £140 million since 2009.

Savings continue to be based on the council’s financial strategy of business transformation, delivering more services digitally to reduce costs, maximising income and using reserves to support the budget whilst further savings are found.

Councillor Parnaby added: “The agreed budget has been produced in consultation with our residents and has been determined by their feedback and so reflects their thoughts and views on what should be prioritised.

“This council will continue to take a planned approach to funding reductions and changes in legislation.

“The budget agreed by full council will continue to support growth in our local economy and will also enable the delivery of sustainable services now and in the future.

“It is a measure of the dedication and hard work of our workforce that we continue to deliver quality services during a period of sustained funding reductions and I commend our officers for doing this.”

The council’s charge makes up just one part of the council tax bill. Humberside Police, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service and the town and parish councils will also have their own precepts to add to the bill.