South Glos council tax to rise by 4.99 percent

South Gloucestershire Council.

South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) element of the council tax levied on local residents is to increase by 4.99 percent from April and looks set to be followed by a similar above-inflation rise in 2018/19.

Meeting on 15th February, councillors agreed to set a revenue budget of £193.25 million, with the increase in the council-controlled element of council tax being made up of a 1.99 percent general increase plus a further 3 percent specifically ring fenced to adult social care to help meet the demographic and other service pressures.

A council spokesperson said the increase is designed to help protect council services as funding from central government is reduced. It means that the average charge for a Band D property for the SGC element of the total council tax bill will rise to £1,359.

Public consultation carried out by the council prior to the budget-setting process showed that 45 percent of respondents were in favour of a council tax rise for 2017/18 of 2 percent or more (inclusive of the adult social care element).

Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Councillor Matthew Riddle, said:

“As a council we are focussed on delivering services to meet the needs and priorities of all our residents and local businesses. I am pleased to say that we will continue to do that with this year’s budget.”

“While finances remain tight and we continue to look for ways to do everything we can as efficiently as we can, I am pleased that we are also able to invest and build for the future, particularly in school and transport infrastructure projects.”

“The council delivers a huge range of services to our whole community and while we are always under pressure to be ever more efficient, where savings have to be made, the priority remains to protect front line services wherever possible. Thanks to the continued and dedicated efforts of our staff, I believe that we are well placed to meet future challenges.”

Looking forward to 2018/19 and beyond, Cllr Pat Rooney, Labour group leader, warned that the authority will soon face a “financial black hole”, at the same time as growing demands are made on its vital services.

She pointed to the council’s Medium Term Financial Plan, which shows that SGC can only balance its budget next year by using up its £6.9 million of reserves, and that in 2019/20 the authority faces a £9.2 million black hole. “This dire picture comes after £22 million of planned cuts have already been implemented,” she added.

In addition to the South Gloucestershire element, bills that will be coming through letterboxes in the next few weeks will include contributions to the Avon and Somerset Police and the Avon Fire & Rescue Service, both of which have risen by 1.99 percent over 2016/17, and the precept raised by Bradley Stoke Town Council (up by 0.5 percent from last year), producing a grand total of £1,721.94 for a Band D property, an increase of 4.14 percent over last year.

Indicative increases in the total council tax bill which will be faced by Bradley Stoke residents for the following three financial years are given as 4.23 percent, 1.90 percent and 1.87 percent.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 39). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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