Lutterworth residents hit with £57 Council Tax hike - The Rugby Observer
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20th Aug, 2022

Lutterworth residents hit with £57 Council Tax hike

LUTTERWORTH residents will have to pay an average £57 extra on their annual Council Tax bill.

Harborough District Council has announced it will raise its share of the tax by £5 for an average Band D home – the maximum allowed by government.

Leicestershire County Council has agreed a £42 rise, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will raise its share by a further £10.

Harborough District Council (HDC) said it would invest in frontline services despite facing ‘significant financial challenges’, after a review of its services last year to try and ease an annual shortfall of £4million fell £900,000 short of the target.

And its funding from Government has dried up since the Revenue Support Grant – which provided HDC with over £2.3million in 2013-14 – was phased out in 2019-20.

Council leader Coun Phil King confirmed £700,000 would be made available for a Platinum Jubilee Community Capital Fund which will allow local organisations to bid for funding to help secure or develop significant capital assets as a commemoration of The Queen’s 70 year milestone.

The Council also approved its Corporate Plan which sets out its ‘vision for the future’ and what it aims to achieve for people, communities and businesses.

HDC has recommended investment into community support, protecting the environment, business support, leisure facilities, new technology, community assets and infrastructure.

Council deputy leader and finance spokesperson Coun James Hallam said: “We continue to face financial pressures and, despite an increase in our share of the Council Tax bill, we believe this still represents excellent value for money.

“We will continue to provide high quality services and invest in our residents and businesses. It’s also worth noting that since 2011, there has only been an increase in our share of the bill of just over £8.”

Leicestershire County Council (LCC) said the hike in its share of Council Tax would help fill a budget gap of £39million, and fund services including children’s social care, public health, transport, education, planning, road maintenance, libraries, waste management and trading standards.

Resources spokesperson Coun Lee Breckon said: “The money we will receive from the Government in the coming financial year was better than anticipated but significant risks remain.

“Our proposed budget will balance the books next year but we still face a gap between our income and what we will need to spend of £39million by 2026.”

“Our financial strategy is prudent and deliverable though we will still need to make significant savings and that will require difficult decisions.

“It is recognised many residents will be having a hard time with the rising cost of living.

“We ask for more council tax with great reluctance and we will need to repay residents by delivering those essential services efficiently and effectively.

“We will continue our campaign to get a better funding deal from government – and this includes working with the cross-party F20 group of the lowest funded councils in England to achieve this aim.”

LCC added there was ‘considerable’ pressure on the council to fund both children’s and adult social care in the face of rising demand in the number of vulnerable older and young people who need looking after – and with overall social care costs expected to rise by £88million over the next four years.

There is also deficit of £63million predicted by 2026 in paying for the education of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

More than half a billion pounds is also to be spent on major capital schemes between now and 2026 to provide for essential infrastructure – such as new roads and schools – to meet the demands of the county’s growing population and economy.

The Shire Grants scheme is being boosted with an additional £150,000 to make up a £600,000 pot available annually to community projects.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Rupert Matthews said his budget was designed to provide the Chief Constable with the funding necessary to deliver improvements to local policing, as set out in his Police and Crime Plan approved by public consultation last year.

He said: “I expect greater visibility in the entire force area, with neighbourhood policing playing a major role across our city and two counties. I want to see the police working more collaboratively with local residents, listening and responding to the concerns raised in every community. Communications between the police and the law-abiding public must be improved.

“I am further determined that the work to tackle crime in rural communities will be strengthened.”

He said the tax rise would help fund “a better response to rural communities, state of the art technology infrastructure leading to improved communication between the police and the public, and more tailored support for victims of crime.”

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