Council tax rise of 3.77 per cent

Coun Marion Brighton - leader of NKDC.
Coun Marion Brighton - leader of NKDC.

An 11th hour change of heart by the Government has meant that an average Council Tax bill in North Kesteven is set to rise by £56.52 (3.77 per cent) for the coming year.

North Kesteven District Council executive board has opted to increase its share of the Council Tax bill for 2016/17 by £4.95 or 3.41 per cent for an ‘average’ Band D property (9p a week), following the Government’s announcement last Monday that a referendum would not be triggered unless a ‘Shire District’s’ precept was increased by over two per cent or £5.

NKDC’s Full Council will make its final budget decision on Thursday February 25.

Responding to Government announcements that its direct funding for local councils such as North Kesteven will be cut to zero within four years, the authority looked to ‘futureproof’ its services to the public by upping the precept further than originally planned. Initially it had been limited to a 1.99 per cent rise.

As three-quarters of households are in Bands A to C this means the authority’s share should rise by six to eight pence per week - meaning NKDC’s total share of the tax bill will be well below £150 for the year for most people. The authority says this will still allow it to continue investing in local communities and delivering high-quality services at low cost.

For a Band D property the county council share is going up by 3.95 per cent, the police by 1.96 per cent and Town and Parish councils by about 7.05 per cent, amounting to a total average bill of £1,557.22.

Coun Marion Brighton, Leader of NKDC, said: “In light of recent announcements of forthcoming reductions in funding from Central Government over the next four years, it is increasingly important the Council continues to take a medium to long term view of the financial landscape.

“For less than £3 a week at Band D this covers all of the services the council provides – refuse and recycling, planning control, public protection, food hygiene standards, leisure, sports, arts and more.

“We felt that in these circumstances and given the imminent withdrawal of all direct funding, the prudent thing to do was to maintain our established policy of gradual increases in order to futureproof our level of service provision.

“Alongside other local authorities, we lobbied the Government on a number of issues surrounding its previous finance settlement, arguing the special case for rural areas such as ours that have achieved significant savings of more than £3m over the last three years through efficiencies and innovative approaches to service delivery, and I am pleased to see that they have listened and responded.”