HOUSEHOLDS in Rugby face further financial pressure with average Council Tax bills in the town to rise by around £82 a year.
Rugby Borough Council (RBC) has announced its share of the tax will go up by £6.12 a year for the average Band D home
This is in addition to the previously announced £62 rise in Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) larger share of Council Tax, and a hike of £14 by Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
It means the average bill in Rugby for 2023-24 will be around £2,090.
This is in addition to the share of the bill charged by parish councils – which will be an average of around £57 – or the yet-to-be announced town area amount, which last year was £78.
The average Council Tax bill in Rugby is now £649 more than it was in 2010-11, due in part to the phasing out of the Government’s Revenue Support Grant – which in previous years provided WCC with over £84million a year, and RBC with over £889,000.
In its budget for 2023-24, RBC also announced spending cuts of £4.2million.
RBC’s finance spokeswoman Coun Carolyn Robbins said: “The cost of living has impacted the borough council’s budgets by £2.7million, so it is testament to our continuing financial prudence that we have been able to make savings of £4.2million and balance our budget with an increase in our Council Tax of just 12 pence per week for an average Band D property.
“The borough council provides important and popular services including parks and open spaces, waste collection, leisure and cultural facilities, environmental health and community wardens, along with support for our more vulnerable residents.
“We have seen large increases in our costs, but also an increase in the need to support residents at risk of homelessness or who have become homeless and need temporary accommodation. I am pleased that we have been able to maintain all of these services and provide the support that our residents need.
“We know that any increase will be challenging, especially when added to the larger increases from the county council and police, but we hope that residents will be reassured that we have been able to support our most vulnerable residents through additional payments up to £25, through the government’s Council Tax Support Fund.
“We will use this to support around 4,100 of our lowest income households who qualify for Council Tax support.
“This is in addition to our normal Council Tax reduction scheme, so I would encourage any resident who is struggling to pay their Council Tax to contact us and see what help may be available.”
RBC also revealed a £5million boost for the council’s Town Centre Regeneration Strategy – funded by business rates over the next two years which were previously anticipated to be transferred to the government.
It will pay for physical improvements to the town centre and enhance CCTV coverage.
It will also be used to move forward with plans for a voluntary and community sector-led wellbeing hub, and a public sector service hub, which will bring partners together in a joint location.
All council owned sites will be appraised to identify alternative uses, and the council will work with developers and investors to explore ‘under-used assets’ in the town centre to see if they could be put to better use – and consider using compulsory purchase orders to ‘progress regeneration that benefits the town’.
Council leader Coun Seb Lowe said: “This £5million is a clear statement of support for our town centre.
“With appropriate investment in the physical environment, in town centre businesses and in infrastructure, together with our partners we will make our town a more pleasant and a safer place to be, with more reasons to visit.
“These measures move us a step forward in delivering the regeneration strategy that we adopted last year.”
Rugby Borough Council’s 2023-24 General Fund budget is subject to approval by councillors at a budget setting meeting on February 22.
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/benefits for Council Tax support and other benefits.
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/costofliving for more information on help to deal with the rising cost of living.