Nottinghamshire County Council set to agree 2.99% increase in council tax demand
Taxpayers in Nottinghamshire are set to pay an additional 2.99% in council tax to the county council from April.
The move, due to be approved next week, means the council tax will rise by the maximum amount — 1.99%, while the adult social care precept will rise by 1%, bringing the total to 2.99%.
The council is allowed to raise the social care precept — which is ring-fenced for spending on adult social care — by 3%, but has decided not to take this option.
This is despite a looming increase in cost pressures of £106m by 2024-25, and the council acknowledging considerable uncertainty remains beyond 2021-22, until further government funding plans are announced.
The final amount of council tax paid will depend on decisions by local councils, as well as the fire service and the police, but the county council’s charge makes up the majority of the final council tax bill.
How much will I pay now? (For the county council element of the bill only)
Band% of properties 2020-21 2021-22 Change
Band A39.4% 1,023.30 1,053.90 30.60
Band B 20.6% 1,193.85 1,229.55 35.70
Band C 17.1% 1,364.40 1,405.20 40.80
Band D 11.5% 1,534.95 1,580.85 45.90
Band E 6.5% 1,876.05 1,932.15 56.10
Band F 3.1% 2,217.15 2,283.4566.30
Band G 1.7% 2,558.25 2,634.75 76.50
Band H 0.1% 3,069.90 3,161.70 91.80
It comes as council-wide elections are due to be held in May, although doubts have been cast over whether these will proceed.
The council is currently run by the Conservatives, in a coalition with the Mansfield Independents.
Labour has criticised the proposal, calling it a misleading picture, and saying it fails to address the upcoming financial challenges.
Labour group leader Alan Rhodes said: “Once again, the Conservatives have presented a misleading picture with their budget statement, which fails to underline the fact that there is still a £26.7m hole in funding to deliver our services.
“Add to this the short term and temporary nature of much of the funding, something which this report highlights as conveying considerable uncertainty beyond 2021-22, and the fact that the (government’s) fair funding review and retention of higher business rates have also been put on the government’s back burner, and I would say this budget offers little in the way of comfort for Nottinghamshire residents in affording high-quality services in the coming years.
“It is also something of a joke to claim that the roads and highways across the county are a success. Over the last four years, the Conservatives have spent over £100m on maintaining and improving them, yet they remain the worst in the country for potholes.
“In summary, there is nothing aspirational about the offer to Nottinghamshire residents in this budget, nor does it provide any reassurance about what the future of services might look like. But the Conservatives will be asking residents to put their hands in their pockets for another increase in council tax. A very poor outcome at a time when our people deserve better”
But Conservative councillor Richard Jackson, who is the head of finance at the council, said a lot of other councils were in considerably worse financial shape.
He said: “A lot of other councils are not in the same position. I think really the work we have done and the tough positions we have taken in the last few years have got us into the position we are in now.
“Obviously, the pandemic has come along and blown things off course and given us challenges as well, but we’ve been well placed to face them.”
Asked about the long-term forecasts, and if there were problems coming down the line, he said: “Yes there are, and we know there are savings we need to make in the future, but we are well on the way to making them and finding them, and I think we have got a good track record of making savings without massive impacts on our services.
“Fundamentally, we don’t think we should take more (council tax) than we need, and we think we have got the right funding balance as it stands. A lot of councils have chosen to take the maximum because they can, but we think we can maintain the services we’ve got by taking the one percent (for the adult social care precept).
With many working families facing difficult financial situations due to the pandemic, Mr Jackson said that was why they had kept it as low as possible.
"We don’t believe we can go any lower without really impacting services that those families rely on," he said.
"We don’t want to close children’s centres, we don’t want to close libraries we don’t want to reduce bus services or any of those things, and I think to go lower you would need to cut into services that we’re not prepared to do. But we do appreciate it’s out of people’s taxed income, so I think we’ve got a responsibility to keep it as low as possible.”