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Council tax set to rise for the next FIVE years

By Carl Jackson | South Staffordshire | News | Published:

Residents in part of Staffordshire are set to see their council tax bills rise for the next five years.

South Staffordshire District Council headquarters in Codsall

South Staffordshire Council chiefs want to levy a £5 increase from April and then again in 2019/20 while they intend to increase it by nearly two per cent (1.99) in the three years which follow.

It means by 2022/23 those living in a Band D property will be paying £17.06 more than they do currently.

It is to help the authority dig itself out of a £1.1m black hole next year.

As well as raising their proportion of council tax bosses will also raid the reserves.

The council was hit by the announcement that Staffordshire local authorities had been rejected from a business rates retention scheme which would have reaped hundreds of thousands of pounds in extra income a year.

Austerity

Council leader Brian Edwards MBE vowed that services would be preserved if the increase was given the go-ahead.

He said: “Due to the pressure of austerity unfortunately we will have to increase council tax.

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“Although our council tax will still be the fourth lowest in the country for a district council.

“It is one of the ways we have to balance the books. It is a fairly robust financial strategy we have for the next five years. We are keeping all of the services we have got, we are not cutting anything.”

Councillor Edwards said he hoped Staffordshire councils would be re-considered for the business rates pilot in 2019/20.

He added that income had also been boosted by the council’s prudent investment in around 150 commercial units across the district pulling in revenue from rents, whilst stating that another unit was on the way at Four Ashes which would generate further income.

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Prudent

Councillor Edwards added: “We’ve always been very prudent in our use of our funds and spent wisely.

“We have the lowest council tax in Staffordshire by a long way. We keep a close eye on the figures and we just hope we can continue to be prudent with our finances.”

The moves have been outlined in the council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Councillor Edwards’ report, which went before the cabinet on Tuesday, declared the true state of the council’s finances in the near future was unclear because of the forthcoming change in which the Government will fund local authorities.

It said: “It must be noted that this is a period of significant uncertainty in the system of local Government finance. By 2020, government will re-assess the baseline need for spend in each local authority.

“It is however uncertain as to whether the financing system will shift to one based on 100 per cent business rates retention.”

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson
Reporter - @cjackson_star

Senior reporter for Staffordshire and Walsall.

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