Householders to pay 5.99 per cent more on council tax bills

February 26 2018

COUNCIL tax bills in South Gloucestershire will rise by 5.99 per cent from April.

COUNCIL tax bills in South Gloucestershire will rise by 5.99 per cent from April.

It means householders in a band D property will be charged £1,441.07 as a contribution to council-provided services - with extra sums to be added on for the police and fire service, as well as parish precepts.

The increase is made up of a 2.99 per cent general rise and a further three per cent as an adult social care levy.

The approximate £9.7 million raised through the levy will be spent on services supporting the most vulnerable adults.

But South Gloucestershire Council said it only partially covered the extra cost of social care resulting from increased demand and market prices.

During 2018-19, the council will spend nearly £216 million on services, with a further £202 million to be distributed to schools through a dedicated Government grant.

But it warned that while its finances were projected to remain in balance for the coming three years, that was only by using reserves set aside for that purpose and making more savings.

However, a range of extra spending commitments were included in the council’s budget, including about £7.7 million more for the Children, Adults and Health Department over and above the adult social care levy.

There is also funding for a two per cent pay increase for staff, whose salaries have been frozen or capped at one per cent for the past seven years.

Meanwhile, a 50 per cent council tax discount for homes that have been empty for at least two years will be removed.

Council leader Matthew Riddle said: “I know that some will feel the squeeze of rising council tax but while we continue to look for ways to be as efficient and cost effective as possible, we must find ways to replace the funding which used to come from Government and to meet rising demand for services.”

Liberal Democrats said the budget indicated there would be more than £36 million in cuts to the budget between 2019 and 2022 but the nature of those cuts were unspecified.

The group’s deputy leader, Councillor Clare Young, said: “South Gloucestershire has already tightened its belt pretty damn hard in recent years.

“There will come a point, not very long from now I fear, when there will be simply nothing left to cut.”