Council tax hike as authority looks to make almost £11m in savings

Council tax will increase by 2.75 per cent.

Council tax will increase by 2.75 per cent. - Credit: Archant

A council tax rise and significant cuts were agreed as North Somerset Council set its budget for 2019/20 this week.

The budget includes almost £11million of savings, alongside additional investment which ‘will make a difference’.

The 2.75 per cent council tax hike means the average band D home will pay £1,378.50, with forecasts indicating it will generate in excess of £1million in extra cash.

Leader Nigel Ashton said in almost 10 years of Government austerity measures, the council had been faced with having to make savings in excess of £100million.

Next year, more than 95 per cent of council resources will be generated from council tax and business rates with only £2million, less than two per cent of its total funding, coming from Government grants.

Cllr Ashton said: “There is more uncertainty facing us in the future, we have still got more savings to make in the coming year, so we can’t take our eye off the ball.

“What this council has achieved has been quite remarkable, to have survived 10 years of austerity and still be here now in a financially stable position is a fantastic achievement.

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“Our investment in key areas will make a difference to the people of North Somerset.”

Savings of more than £2.2million will be made from the people and communities budget for adults, and almost £1.9million from children’s services.

However, an additional £600,000 in the home to school transport budget to help youngsters with special educational needs get to school, and a £75,000 increase in school improvement and early years attainment will be set aside.

A review of car parking regulations will take place across the district, with £250,000 set aside to ensure parking charges are used effectively.

No increases in car parking fees and charges are proposed for 2019/20.

The Streetscene contract, to fund increased verge and footpath maintenance and provide more litter and dog bins, has been earmarked an extra £20,000.

Opposition members were critical of the council tax increase and the cuts to adult and children’s services

Green party leader Tom Leimdorfer said: “Our poorest families are being asked to pay the highest tax contribution.”