Residents in Crewe are facing a Council Tax increase of 4.99% Cheshire East Council announced yesterday.
The increase is detailed in the councils Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) plan for the period 2020 – 2024.
Social Care, mental health and services for young children will see an additional £12 million in spending.
The budget proposals will also see £400 million spent on roads, schools and IT services over the next four years.
The news comes on the same day The Labour Party called on the Conservatives to support a motion calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to:
Drop the Government’s plans to force local councils to increase council tax in the middle of a pandemic by providing councils with funding to meet the Government’s promise to do whatever is necessary to support councils in the fight against covid-19
Conservative MPs abstained on the motion, including Crewe and Nantwich MP, Dr Kieran Mullan.
The 4.99% increase is the maximum the tax can be raised without the need to hold a referendum locally.
It comes after local government funding has seen huge reductions since 2010.
A report published by the Local Government Association in January 2020 highlighted the funding pressures faced by Cheshire East Council.
The council was led by a Conservative administration from 2009-2019.
The report found that:
There has been an estimated reduction in Government funding to Local Government of 49.1% from 2010-2018, this equates to a reduction of 28.6% in the council’s spending power.LGA Report. Corporate Peer Challenge, Cheshire East Council. 13-16 January 2020. Feedback Report.
Councillor Amanda Stott, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance said:
These are unprecedented times. This budget has been one of the most challenging to prepare. The two documents published today set out our plans for the next four years, giving us much-needed focus and direction at a time of great uncertainty and change in the face of the pandemic.
Councils face very difficult choices and must strike a balance between protecting vital local services and keeping council tax rises to a minimum. We know that the proposed 4.99 per cent increase in council tax for 2021/22 will be a concern for many residents.
This equates to about £1 per week for the average household. We are looking to reduce the impact of this rise on lower income households through changes to our council tax support scheme. Beyond 2021/22 we are proposing smaller increases in council tax of 1.99 per cent.
Back in June 2020 the Labour led council asked central government for an additional £70million in funding as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic however only £19.5 million was made available at that time.
Any rise in Council Tax is likely to anger many at a time when families in the area are facing huge financial pressures.