THE COST-of-living crisis continues as hard-pressed Rugby residents face an average £71 increase in their annual Council Tax bill.
Rugby Borough Council (RBC) has announced its share of the tax will go up by £5 a year for the average Band D home – the maximum allowed by Government without calling a local referendum.
This is in addition to a £57 rise in Warwickshire County Council’s larger share of Council Tax, and a hike of over £9 by Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
In its budget for 2022-23, RBC also announced it would end free evening and weekend parking in the town centre, transferring the £150,000 parking subsidy to fund ‘town centre activities’.
The council said all of its services would be maintained, while the budget prioritised tacking climate change, supporting economic recovery, and improving health and wellbeing.
RBC’s leader Coun Seb Lowe said: “This budget will enable us to build on the work we have been doing to transform the council and the borough of Rugby.
“Now that we are emerging from the pandemic, we can focus on delivering on our climate change commitments and bringing our town centre masterplan to fruition this summer.
“The people of Rugby have big expectations for this council and for the borough. This budget establishes the funding to enable us to live up to those expectations.”
Labour group leader Coun Maggie O’Rourke said: “The budget was all talk with no substance. There was a lot a talk about transformation but no end date to delivery. This will be particularly disappointing for the town centre businesses.
“If Labour were in control we would buy up empty shops so we were in a strong position to actually deliver a town centre that local people deserve.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Coun Jerry Roodhouse said he was not happy to see taxes rise during a cost-of-living crisis, adding: “The Government has forced councils to do this. Council Tax is an unfair tax and should be scrapped.”
The average Council Tax bill in Rugby is now £567 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.
Annual spending on services in Rugby run by RBC and WCC dropped by nearly £7million in the nine years to 2019.
Services which have suffered include children’s centres, the fire service, transport and highways, social care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, homeless hostels, health visitors, young carers and special educational needs.
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/counciltax for more information on council tax and payments.