Wednesday, February 20, 2013
People in Norwich will have to pay about a penny a day more into City Hall’s coffers after councillors agreed council tax should go up by 1.95pc.
Leaders at Norwich City Council said the increase in its share of the bill was necessary to protect key services, such as waste collections and street cleaning.
For the third year in a row, the government had offered authorities a grant in return for not increasing council tax, but city council leaders rejected it. They say a consultation showed 57.4pc of people who responded supported an increase, with protecting key services the most favoured use of the extra cash.
The city council last night agreed the council tax increase as part of its 2013/14 budget, which includes making about £2.5m worth of savings. Alan Waters, deputy council leader, said the government was squeezing local councils so they were staring into the ‘jaws of doom’.
He said: “We have found savings of £2.5m but we have an unpredictable financial situation. We need money for repairs, to improve assets and for asset investment.”
A Green amendment to commission an advice service, restore some tree planting, provide more staff in revenue and budgets and to spend just over £15,000 on grit bins was lost.
Stephen Little, Green councillor for Town Close, said he supported the council tax rise, but said it should have also been increased last year, as his party had proposed.
James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said he was disappointed the council did not accept the grant for freezing council tax.
Council tax bills for people who live in Norwich are split three ways. The bulk 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.
The city council’s 1.95pc increase would mean, from April, somebody living in a Band D property in Norwich 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 who live in the Broadland District Council area are also likely to be spared an increase, with councillors set to freeze their portion.
n The city council also agreed a 5.1pc increase in the rent of city council tenants. That works out at an average increase of £3.69 for the city’s 15,000 tenants.
Victoria MacDonald, cabinet member for housing said the money raised would be spent on improving council homes and building new council homes, with £34.9m to be spent in the next 12 months.
A Green amendment calling for an increase of 3.8pc was lost.