Council tax bill up by four per cent

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Council tax across Nottinghamshire will rise by almost four per cent after it was claimed that a “different and radical approach” was required.

Debate at County Hall lasted for almost eight hours on Thursday after which it was finally agreed by Nottinghamshire County Council to raise the tax by 1.99 per cent, and to introduce the Government’s social care precept - the equivalent to a further two per cent rise.

In total, the changes will raise around £12million towards meeting the funding shortfall in 2016/17, costing the average council taxpayer an extra 80p per week.

Despite these changes, the council is still facing a funding shortfall of £50.2m by 2019/20.

Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Councillor Alan Rhodes described the budget as ‘historic’, after members from outside of the majority Labour group were involved in the budget setting process from the outset.

Coun Rhodes said: “Regardless of our individual politics, for the foreseeable future all local authorities will face unprecedented financial constraints.

“There will be no more money arriving anytime soon – the grants that we have seen being eroded year after year will continue to reduce.

“Finances will not suddenly start to flow back from Government to local authorities, so we will need to look at how we can manage with less or find ways to generate more ourselves.

“Sadly, it is an all too familiar story, funding from Government continues to dry up while we face rising demand for many of our services.

“Simply put, there’s less money and more demand.

“It’s an impossible circle to square without making radical and far-reaching changes that impact on the way that we deliver services in the future.”

But while the budget was eventually pushed through with councillors from all parties supposedly working together, there was still time for an amended budget to be put forward by the Conservative party members.

The party made a last-ditch effort to cap the overall tax rise to a 1.99 per cent and said they could find the £6 million shortfall.

It was consequently voted down.

Tory councillor Reg Adair said: “It was a generally good-natured debate reflecting the level of agreement there has been over many aspects of the budget, but council tax was the sticking point.

“We do not think it is fair for the highest charging shire council in the country to be increasing the tax burden on its residents by four per cent on top of two per cent increases in the previous two years.”