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Council tax set to rise in Sandwell despite Government funding increase

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Politics | Published:

Council tax will rise by almost four per cent across Sandwell from April.

Sandwell Council house

The borough council has put forward its budget for the coming year which includes a 1.99 per cent council tax hike for frontline services plus another two per cent for social care.

The authority said it would mean an extra 72p to 96p per week for most residents.

Councillor Wasim Ali, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for resources and core services, said the proposed budget – which will be discussed by the cabinet on February 5 – would help protect frontline services.

The planned hike comes despite a slight increase in funding from the Government.

Councillor Ali said: “Although we’re not expecting any Government cuts to our funding this year, we’re still running the council with around £180 million less each year than we did back in 2010.

“And demand for our services is getting greater – especially in adult social care, children’s social care and special needs transport. These are challenges for councils across the country.

“So, although we’re not cutting council budgets this year, we have no choice but to put up council tax if we are to protect and fund vital services. We have kept the proposed rise as low as can.

“In future, we will have to look at making savings in other areas to make sure we can fund vital services to help vulnerable, disabled, young and older people as demands for these services increase.

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“The Government knows councils need help to deliver these services and we are now seeing some money filtering through to help us.”

Councillor Ali added: “We’ve just launched our climate change strategy and it’s a real priority for the council – we’re already planting thousands of trees, and we have lots of plans to protect the environment for future generations.

“We also want to make sure money is spent within Sandwell. Community wealth-building is about spending more of the council’s money with local businesses. This supports the local economy, it means more jobs and apprenticeships for local people – meaning more people earning, better spending power and more money going back into the Sandwell economy.”

Latest figures show funding from the Government to Sandwell Council will increase after years of cuts. It follows reports that former Labour 'red wall' areas which fell to the Tories at the general election, such as West Bromwich, were set to see funding slashed.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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