Residents living in a Band D property in the district will almost certainly have to shell out an extra £5 – stepping it up to about £178 for the year – to Harborough District Council for the next financial year.
And householders are facing having to pay an extra fiver a year tax to the hard-up local authority for the next few years as it battles to combat the devastating impact of the Covid pandemic.
The proposed Council Tax hike has emerged as cash-strapped Harborough council today set out its budget priorities for 2022-2023.
The council’s ruling Conservative group is acting as it “continues to tackle significant financial challenges, as well as invest in frontline services”.
But there will be no new increase in the cost of having your green bin emptied after it shot up to £55 last year - a jump of almost 40 per cent.
The council last year carried out an urgent budget review programme, called Budget Challenge 2025 (BC25), to help plug a huge budget gap of £4 million.
“Every council service was reviewed and by 2024/25 the annual saving will be £3.1 million,” said the council.
The council says it’s also responded to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit it hard, by “providing services in new and innovative ways”.
The authority will also continue to plough new investment into:
- Community support - making available community grants to back local groups and organisations
- Protecting the environment by ensuring appropriate enforcement of planning regulations and helping to minimise environmental crime
- Supporting businesses by engaging with the business community so they have access to the best possible support that will help them grow
- Providing leisure facilities, local parks and amenities that will help improve health and well-being in communities
- Service transformation to make the council leaner and more efficient by investing in new technology
- Using the financial resources available to invest in local community assets and develop infrastructure to support future residential and business development.
“Proposals have also been put forward to increase Harborough District Council’s share of the Council tax by £5 a year, per Band D household, in the Harborough district.
“This is currently the maximum amount permitted by Government,” said the council.
“The Council Tax bill contributes to public services and includes precepts from Leicestershire County Council, Police and Crime Commissioner, Harborough District Council, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue and Parish Councils.”
The council has also reviewed its Corporate Plan.
The vital blueprint sets out its “vision for the future” and what it aims to achieve for people, communities and businesses.
Cllr James Hallam, Harborough council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet lead for finance, said: “Whilst we have proposed an increase in our share of the Council Tax bill, we believe this still represents excellent value for money, with the continued delivery of high quality services and significant investment which will see tangible benefits for residents and businesses.
“It’s also worth noting that since 2011, there has only been an increase in our share of the Council Tax bill of just over £8.”
He added: “There has been in-depth work to identify savings across the council, to address financial challenges and losses in revenue due to the pandemic, as we focus positively on delivering our vision through our revised Corporate Plan."
Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the council’s Liberal Democrat opposition, said: “We will be going over these budget proposals with a fine toothcomb.
“We’ll support the ruling group in areas that we agree with – and hold them firmly to account where we don’t.
“We’ll be seeking urgent face-to-face meetings with the council’s senior finance officers so that we can understand the budget proposals and the figures,” said Cllr Knowles.
“The council has to deliver the best possible services to the people of Harborough district in as cost effective and efficient a way as possible.
“Our council is under significant financial pressures and we have to be told what the impact of those will be upon local residents.”
On Monday February 7 the council’s Cabinet will make its formal recommendations on the proposed budget to be debated and voted on by the full council on Monday February 21.
And residents and businesses can have their say on the sweeping financial proposals at www.harborough.gov.uk/consultation until Sunday February 6.