NORTH Somerset Council will be raising council tax by 2.99 per cent to help achieve a balanced budget.

During a council meeting held tonight (Tuesday, February 20), councillors agreed a balanced budget for 2024/25.

The most vulnerable people will continue to be protected, the council has said, despite the pressures of rising costs and demand.

Cllr Mike Bell, leader of North Somerset Council, said: “This has been another incredibly tough year to achieve a balanced budget.

"As well as the inflationary pressures on our costs, we have continued to see growth in demand for services, particularly the statutory social care services for children and adults, and in-year pressures that we have had to act on to mitigate.

“Together with a poor local government grant settlement that sees North Somerset robbed of £37 million in government grant compared to the average English council, and it is plain to see that we have the perfect storm of financial vulnerability.

“Our partnership administration and our council officials have worked hard to deliver a balanced budget that continues to support core services for our community and deliver long term investments.

“We are doing the right things to plan for the future, but the system of local government finance is broken. We do not have access to the tools we need to do the job, either in the form of powers to generate income or in a fair national funding system to share the nation’s wealth.

“We have continued to lobby government and the opposition front benches on the need for reform, proper devolution of powers and long-term change to financing and taxation models.

"Without that change from future governments, local services will continue a slow death and local government will see further collapse.”

The council has a revised budget gap of £13.846m over the medium term. This does not relate to the 2024/25 financial year as the budget for next year has been balanced.

Currently, the budget gap for 2025/26 stands at £9m, meaning that more saving solutions need to be put forward quickly.

As well as the 2.99 per cent increase in council tax to help support vital services, there will also be a 2 per cent increase as an adult social care precept.

It is hoped that this will enable the council to generate an additional income of £6.614m.

In real terms, this equates to a band D property paying £1708.50 for 2024/25, whilst the equivalent figure for the previous year was £1627.38.

Next year, the council will receive £729 in government funding per household, excluding council tax.

Meanwhile, the English average is £1,101.