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Council claims public support for tax rise in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:11 03 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:11 03 February 2014

Panorama of Norwich from Mousehold Heath. Including, from left: the Castle, Shire Hall, St Peter Mancroft church, the Forum, City Hall, the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, St Giles church and the Roman Catholic cathedral church of St John; Photo: Bill Smith; 10th November 2010

Panorama of Norwich from Mousehold Heath. Including, from left: the Castle, Shire Hall, St Peter Mancroft church, the Forum, City Hall, the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, St Giles church and the Roman Catholic cathedral church of St John; Photo: Bill Smith; 10th November 2010

Archant © 2010

People in Norwich are to be asked to pay an extra 1.95% on the city council’s share of the council tax from April.

City Hall leaders had warned Norwich City Council’s element of council tax could have to rise again as it looked to protect front-line services while making savings.

At Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, the council will recommend that the council tax increase, along with cuts and savings of £3.3m, be included as part of a £19.3m budget for 2014/15.

The increase would see those living in the average Band B home in the city paying an extra £3.49 a year (an increase from £179.10 a year to £182.59) to the city council and

would net the council about £150,000 more.

Alan Waters, deputy leader of Norwich City Council, said: “If we are to do what we should do to protect important council services, a council tax increase is important and raises approximately £150,000.

“We have tested public opinion on this and it is six in 10 in favour, and 40% are strongly in favour of an increase in council tax to protect public services.”

He added: “We have a mandate from the people, so I don’t want to hear any nonsense about democracy dodging from [local government minister and Great Yarmouth MP] Brandon Lewis, as we had last year.”

City Hall officers, in a the report which will come before the controlling Labour cabinet, state: “The government has announced a further council tax freeze grant for 2014/15.

“The value of the grant offered is less than the amount that can be raised through the proposed increase in council tax and therefore the resulting shortfall would add considerably to already significant budgetary pressures.

“Therefore, based on recommendations in this report, the council would reject the freeze grant.”

According to the city council’s consultation – which asked if people would support a 2% council tax increase – of the 222 people who answered the question, 140 agreed.Among the cuts, savings and ways to save money proposed as part of the council’s consultation were:

Renting out City Hall meeting rooms for business receptions and conferences.

A “gradual increase” in cemetery fees and charges for allotments.

A review of empty homes to get more long-term properties into use – bringing in income from the new homes bonus.

Charging for replacing wheelie bins.

Buying private businesses to generate money.

Finding ways to bring in more money at St Andrew’s Hall and the Norman Centre.

Council tax bills for people in Norwich are split between the city council, the county council and the police.

Are you happy to pay more tax? Email your views to newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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