A council tax hike is on the cards for people in Norwich, with city leaders saying the increase is needed to protect services.

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Councillors are likely to rubber-stamp a 1.95pc increase in the city council’s share of the council tax - and a further £2.5m worth of savings - when they meet next week.

That would mean, from April, somebody living in a Band D property would have to pay £230.27 into City Hall’s coffers, an increase of £4.40 on the current level.

That comes on top of the £3.84 extra which people will have to pay to Norfolk police, after the new police and crime commissioner decided to increase the share which goes to the force by 1.965pc.

Norfolk County Council has announced there will be no increase in its share of the tax, while people in Norwich who live in the Broadland District Council have also been spared an increase, with councillors set to freeze their portion.

For the third year in a row, the government had offered authorities a grant in return for not increasing council tax. Leaders at City Hall took the grant in the last two years, but say they cannot afford to do so again.

A report which will come before members of the controlling Labour cabinet next week states: “The value of the grant offered is much less than the two previous freeze grants and therefore the resulting shortfall will add considerably to already significant budget pressures.”

The council says, in consultation carried out between September and December last year, 57.4pc of people supported a council tax hike, with “the most popular” use for it to protect key council services.

Alan Waters, deputy leader of the council, said: “Looking at the figures, I think about 40pc of councils are putting up the council tax.

“We are doing it because we have got to find ways to mitigate for the cuts which have been imposed on us by the government, so we can continue to protect services.

“Assuming we were allowed to set a similar level for the next four years, that would bring in about £1m, which can make a big difference to us being able to maintain services.”

Mr Waters added the council had also decided to protect vulnerable people in the city from being hit in the pocket by opting for a ‘no cuts’ approach to changes to the way council tax benefit is paid.

That means people in receipt of council tax benefit will see no reduction in what they receive in 2013-14 and the council will cover the financial shortfall by other means.

But James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “My view is, in the current climate, we should not be looking at a council tax rise. We should be taking the grant for freezing the tax and looking at extra savings. “When you consider the council has just agreed to increase the allowances for councillors, it seems even more extraordinary.”

However, Claire Stephenson, leader of the opposition Green group, said: “The council should have increased the council tax last year and I think it was a mistake that they did not, because that would meant they could have saved vital services.

“I think they have now realised that was a mistake and are putting it up as much as this government will allow without triggering a referendum.”

The city council’s cabinet are being recommended to accept the freeze when it meets on Wednesday, although the final decision will rest with the full council.

Council tax bills for people who live in Norwich are split three ways. The bulk of the money goes to Norfolk County Council, with the rest going to the city council and Norfolk police.

In areas outside Norwich, a slice goes to the relevant district council (such as Broadland or South Norfolk), while parish councils also set precepts.

• What do you think of the increase? Write to Norwich Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

17 comments

  • @ chebram71 I think you may be wrong about the decrease in the amount of housing benefit being paid. The council is getting less from the government, not the same as in previous years, so it is impossible to freeze the council tax by reducing housing benefit in specific circumstances. The problem is that people want the standard of services to stay the same but don`t want to pay the extra cost per annum to pay for inflationary rises whether it be for materials, wages etc. You cannot carry on for ever and a day with a, make do and mend philosophy. Just filling in a pot hole instead of doing a proper job costs more in the long run

    Report this comment

    BG

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Come on BG how many years has NCC always failed and ended up paying more out for its failures. There was some loophole concerning the staff that were let go by Fountains and Moved over to Biffa. Staff received a payoff and cause of this loophole NCC will have to find yet more money. Well done NCC for making sure your contracts with certain companies are above board and are value for money. So far we have a complete f up with Lovells, Fountains, Biffa and Thomas Sinden to name but a few. I think it is time for NCC to be ripped apart by the auditors again !

    Report this comment

    chebram71

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Come on you bashers, where are you, lets b avenue. PaulH has risen to the call, what are the rest of you playing at. Don't you know its all down to those wicked lefties and their increased allowances, now you are having to pay for them with extra council tax. Its an outrage! The EDP keeps telling you but you vote them into power nonetheless. I expect EDP to dutifully publish another bile-filled rant from little Little next week.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Ariana : ** " but no one at Norwich City Council earns more than the Prime Minister. " **. Please don't confuse the people on here with facts.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • They can find over £1 million to tart up the inside of the City Hall though. Maybe if they kept that money for oh important things then there would be no need for an increase. Having Brenda Arthur in charge is no better than when Mr Morph was in charge. Different name still make the same mistakes. They go on about protecting services yeah heard that before, services end up being cut even further. This council needs to go and no point the conservative or Lib Dems being voted for either. Vote for alternatives as if people just sit back and moan change will not happen.

    Report this comment

    chebram71

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Labour you voted them Now pay up .No excuses please. No grumbling about nasty Tories. They told them to freeze it. Anyway half of Norwich Houses don't pay any tax.

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • So Norwich City Council attack those on the benefits system by one introducing a Bedroom tax which is meant to make up the short fall by keeping Council Tax frozen. Well NCC are still as useless as ever. I informed them that I was starting work full time as from 7th January. They were informed on 24th December 2013, as a result I have been overpaid in Housing and Council tax benefit. I dont mind paying it back, but yet again there is an administration element which costs money, which COULD be avoided if they just got a grip and done their jobs properly. I am not the only one. So come on EEN get a FOI request to see how much money is wasted by unnecessary recover action. Oh and erm Council tax is being abolished but they just call it something else, wonder how much money will be wasted on new computer systems also ?

    Report this comment

    chebram71

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Council tax for many people is now more than they pay in income tax! The whole system needs reform,but you won't see much change from anyone in government because the whole system of so called democracy in this country needs sorting out. Do we need more than 600 MPs and countless little empires with their own little hierarchy to administer local services? We pay far too much tax to be over administered by too many people! The effect of this can be seen by the constant and expensive messing about with the road system around Norwich,these people cannot leave anything alone because they have to spend taxpayers money and be seen to do something! I just wish they would all disappear and our council tax was lowered!

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • What a titchy little increase. Why have they bothered. All it's done is stir up a hornets' nest. I mean it's so much less than in Breckland and you were all tripping over yourselves to defend them, for some reason. What could be so different between the two councils that the inceases would generate such intensely opposite reactions. Not some sort of political bias I hope.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Why the big issue? - it's as predictable as night following day! We must guarantee these public sector pensions. Notice no mention of the cash reserves - just cuts + increases. Yes I am bitter - private householder receiving nothing.

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • NCC Council expenditure has risen by 25% With many officials earning more than the Prime Minister Freedom of information prove I an wrong by Ind Audit then publish results.I dare you.

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Harry, don't know if it will be of interest to you, but watched a video by Dr Benjamin Carson (Amazing speech one), American and a bit religious, but very good still the same.

    Report this comment

    WTH

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • To reduce the increase all they have to do is not spend £2 million on refurbishing the top floor of City Hall and furnishing it with new furniture etc..........easy!

    Report this comment

    Carol Barnes

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • Ariana : "....but no one at Norwich City Council earns more than the Prime Minister....". Please don't confuse posters on here by giving them facts....what they want are myths.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • @PaulH, I can't say I entirely understand your comment, but no one at Norwich City Council earns more than the Prime Minister. @chebram71 The government have brought in the reduction in housing benefit for those in bigger accomodation than they need, not the council.

    Report this comment

    Ariana

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • 25% of local council tax funds the big fat gold plated pension pot of creatures like david white

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Its 1.95%, because if it was more, they would have to ask for it in a referendum, hen ce the PCC's 1.965% increase. Eric Pickles calls this 'democracy dodging'. We have to forgive, cllr.s need to find the 11% percent increase in allowances, 2%was not good enough for them. How many properties are exempt from council tax and why? will this now be the annual rise, each and every year? I hope that this will be raised as an issue by those who find this sort of repressive taxing against their code of conduct.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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