LUTTERWORTH residents’ annual Council Tax bills will go up by around £87 for the next financial year.
Harborough District Council (HDC) has voted to increase its share of Council Tax by £5 a year for an average Band D property – taking the total rise to £87 when added to bigger hikes previously announced by Leicestershire County Council (LCC) and Leicestershire Police.
HDC said it needed to address an annual budget gap of around £4million as a result of increasing demand for services, reductions in Government grant, and ‘unavoidable cost increases’.
The council has also lost significant revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has had to ‘provide services in new and innovative ways’, resulting in a deficit of £575,000.
Additionally, the council estimates net losses from the collection of business rates will be £1.5m – although the Government is permitting the council to spread this cost over the next three years.
In response, the council’s ongoing Budget Challenge 2025 is aiming to ‘transform’ services, identify savings in all service areas, and generate long-term income to boost financial sustainability and resilience.
HDC leader and finance spokesman Coun James Hallam said: “While we, like many other councils, face huge challenges, we are confident this budget will begin to address this significant financial gap. We are working across the council to find more innovative and efficient ways to work, to ensure we can continue to provide high quality services for our residents.”
In February, the council’s cabinet approved an increase to pay and display charges at all council-owned car parks.
An increase to the garden waste collection service subscriptions was also agreed earlier in the year, to £55 per year per bin.
The Council said it would continue with its Capital Programme over the next four years, which will invest in new local projects. It will also invest in ICT to improve services for customers, as well as CCTV, disabled facilities grants, housing and homelessness schemes, leisure, open spaces and play areas.
LCC has already approved an increase in its share of Council Tax, equivalent to around £67 a year for an average Band D property.
Councillors blamed failure to secure fair funding and financial pressures as a result of the pandemic for the inflation-busting increase.
Council tax will rise by the maximum 1.99 per cent, while the adult social care precept has also been increased by the maximum amount allowed 2.99 per cent.
Leicestershire Police has also increased its share of Council Tax by the equivalent of £15 extra a year on a Band D property.
Police Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach plans to recruit 50 officers in 2021-22 to boost neighbourhood policing, the rural and heritage crime team, serious crime investigation, sex offender management, anti-fraud capability, and violent and complex crime investigation and problem solving, including knife crime.