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Norwich City Council votes for council tax increase, but £40m investment is questioned

Norwich City Council's City Hall. Picture: Mike Page

Norwich City Council's City Hall. Picture: Mike Page

Mike Page

The increase in council tax for people living in Norwich has been confirmed, after City Hall agreed a rise of just under 3pc in its share of the bills.

Norfolk County Council last week agreed a 5.99pc hike on its share of the bill, while Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner Lorne Green is increasing the share which pays for policing by 5.5pc.

And tonight, Norwich City Council agreed a 2.99pc increase for its share.

That will mean those in Band D properties will pay an extra £7.45 a year to City Hall.

However, the majority of homes in the city are Band A and B, which would add an extra £4.97 and £5.79 a year.

Adding on the county council and policing portions brings the total increases for those in the city to £94.21 a year for Band D, £62.81 for Band A and £73.27 for Band B.

But the Labour-controlled council’s budget came under fire from the Greens, because it includes borrowing £40m to invest in commercial properties.

Green group leader Martin Schmierer said that could see City Hall invest in retail properties in the city and other parts of the county.

He said the council was going to gamble with taxpayers’ cash at a time when interest rates were likely to rise and the retail sector was experiencing difficulties.

He said the council would be better off investing in green energy and his group voted against the budget.

But Labour’s Mike Stonard said the investment would not solely be in retail, but in a mixed portfolio, including leisure and office accommodation.

And Labour’s Paul Kendrick said new property acquisitions generated £400,000 last year to help protect frontline services.

He said: “The city council has been a commercial landlord for decades and we have considerable experience.”

The council will be taking £1.5m out of reserves to reduce the savings needed, but Mr Kendrick warned £10m will still need to be saved over the next four years.

Liberal Democrat amendments to use £5,000 for a feasibility study into basing a post office in City Hall and to take £31,500 from reserves to be made available for councillors to use on projects in their own wards were defeated.

Broadland District Council, which includes areas such as Sprowston, Spixworth and Thorpe St Andrew, will set its council tax on Thursday.

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