Harborough taxpayers poised to be hit by another Council Tax rise by cash-strapped Leicestershire County Council next year

That will be on top of another £5 they’ll have to shell out in Council Tax to struggling Harborough District Council as well

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 4:16 pm

Taxpayers in Harborough are poised to be hit by another Council Tax hike by cash-strapped Leicestershire County Council next year.

Tens of thousands of householders look set to face a three per cent rise in their bills from next April as the authority battles to cope after being hammered by the Covid pandemic.

That means that people in a band D property in Harborough will have to fork out another £42.30 to the county council in 2022-2023.

Taxpayers in Harborough are poised to be hit by another Council Tax hike by cash-strapped Leicestershire County Council next year.

And that will be on top of another £5 they’ll have to shell out in Council Tax to struggling Harborough District Council as well.

The hard-up county council is warning that the cost of looking after vulnerable children and adults is stretching its finances to breaking point.

“To help it balance the books, the council is proposing to increase its share of residents’ council tax bills by three per cent from April - a two per cent rise in the basic levy and one per cent ringfenced to contribute towards adult social care,” said the county council today.

“The council’s proposals set out plans for the next financial year but also looks forward to 2025/26.

“Although austerity may have ended, funding available to the council is not keeping up with the level of service growth.

“That, coupled with the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, has led to additional costs, and means the authority is left in an extremely challenging financial position.”

The council’s medium-term financial strategy (MTFS) sets out the need to save £100 million by 2025/26 - with over £46 million of that sum yet to be identified.

Today Cllr Lee Breckon, the council’s lead member for resources, said: “The numbers we are looking at are stark and worrying.

“While we can balance our budget next year, after that it becomes increasingly challenging.

“The demand for social care for our vulnerable residents grows year after year and the cost of providing that care has increased.

“The continuing Covid-19 pandemic has meant we have to do even more to care for vulnerable adults and the demand is greater than the resources available,” he said.

“The same sorts of pressure apply to educating and caring for children with special needs and disabilities.”

Cllr Breckon added: “Although the situation is daunting we are doing what we can to improve it having joined forces with the other lowest-funded councils in England, the F20 group, to urge the Government to implement fairer funding reforms and we feel we have made good progress in recent discussions.

“Our careful management of our finances so far has helped us avoid the financial crises that has overwhelmed some other councils - but we need change from Government.

“The F20 Councils are in the process of lobbying the Government and are looking to involve their local MPs.

“Without additional financial support, those authorities with low core spending power will increasingly struggle to provide essential and valued services to their local communities," he said.

“Looking ahead, we are bidding for a County Deal and if we get that it will give us greater devolved powers in Leicestershire and significant resources that come with them to help protect frontline services.”

The county council aims to plough an extra £11 million into maintaining and improving Leicestershire’s roads as well as its commitment to plant 700,000 trees – one for every resident over the next 10 years.

“As well as the impact on its day-to-day spending, the council faces growing pressures on its capital programme, which aims to deliver major infrastructure projects in Leicestershire over the next four years.

“This is driven by rising inflation and the growth in the cost of materials for schemes like building new roads and schools,” said the county council.

The council’s cabinet is set to approve a two-month public consultation on its budget blueprint when it meets on Tuesday (December 14).

The proposals will also be debated by councillors before being voted on by the full council on February 23 after the views of the public, businesses and councillors have been discussed.

Every one per cent that Council Tax is increased by is worth £3.4 million to the county council.