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Sandwell Council tax could rise by five per cent

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | News | Published:

Council tax could rise by as much as five per cent across Sandwell from next year, it has been revealed.

Sandwell Council House

Council leader Steve Eling said tax was likely to be increased for the third year running by the cash-strapped authority.

He said the authority was working on the assumption the amount for council services would be increased by 1.99 per cent - but warned up to another three per cent could be put on top of that to fund adult social care.

The proposed increase would come into force from next April and would be the second major hike in as many years after council tax went up by 4.99 per cent this year.

A 4.99 per cent rise would be the most bills could go up without triggering a referendum. It would mean families paying around an extra £1 a week.

The average household pays £1,457.33 a year.

It will be the latest tax rise facing families in the borough after it was revealed West Midlands Police will be putting up its section of council tax bills by four per cent.

Councillor Eling said: “We haven’t finalised it but the assumption would be 1.99 per cent for borough services, we will see what happens on social care – it could be 4.99 per cent.”

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He said freezing council tax, which the authority had managed to do for six years running up to 2016 was no longer an option.

He said: “We can’t freeze it. Inflation is running at something like 3.5 per cent. Having a two per cent increase would mean a cut because of inflation.”

Councillor Eling, who leads the Labour-controlled authority, has previously bemoaned the cuts to the council’s budget.

He also doesn’t agree with the Government’s move to allow councils to increase the amount for adult social care through raising council tax, insisting it should be down to the Government to fund.

Councils can raise the amount for adult social care by as much as three per cent. Councillor Eling has said councils who do not raise tax for social care could be left looking like they do not want to fund it.

Dudley Council announced last week it was set to put up council tax by at least three per cent – one per cent of which will be to fund adult social care.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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