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Telford & Wrekin council tax to rise 3.2pc

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | News | Published:

Council tax in Telford and Wrekin will rise by more than three per cent this year.

Telford & Wrekin Council says it will continue its budget strategy, which was agreed last year, and is set to raise council tax in 2018 and 2019 by 3.2 per cent each year.

The proposed council tax increase would be equivalent to an extra 58p a week for the average band B home in the borough.

The majority of the rise is a two per cent increase to support adult social care that government has already assumed in its funding settlement that councils like Telford & Wrekin will make.

The remaining 1.2 per cent increase will support other services, while budgets for both vulnerable adults and children will both see increases.

Telford & Wrekin says it currently has the third lowest level of council tax for equivalent services in the Midlands.

However, the authority says that as its government grant continues to further reduce, it expects to need to find a further £25 million from its budget between 2019 and 2021.

Telford & Wrekin Council's finance chief, Councillor Lee Carter said: “Our plans seek to continue the course we’ve set for the last seven years which has seen us within budget but being able to protect front line services and use money wisely to invest in communities.

"That strategy is sensible but is being squeezed remorselessly by the government.

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"We could have increased council tax by up six per cent, but this would only add to the financial pressures that so many in the borough already feel.

"And we are making it clear along with councils from all political colours across the country that the government cannot expect to resolve this by asking the public to pay the bill for providing good services for the elderly and young through their council tax.

"Local people ask why they should pay more to receive what in their view amounts to less – we can’t deliver these services on the cheap.

“We are doing as much as we can by introducing plans to help ease the cost pressures on adults and looked after children’s services in particular. But the cost of providing these services and the numbers needing these are growing at a far faster rate than we can deal with."

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He said the council must continue to build on the success it has had working with community groups and organisations in finding new ways of providing services.

Councillor Carter added: "We are also continuing with a range of one-off measures to create a better borough such as investing in developing new business premises to attract more business here, boosting superfast broadband as well as the significant investment in the Pride in Our Community programme to improve roads, street lights and getting the community even more actively involved in different ways.

"By investing what we can into making our borough a great place to live, work, learn and do business we are enabling more and more of our community to do what they can do for their borough, community and neighbours.

“The importance of partnerships and partnership working as we move into ever more difficult financial times are greater than ever. We have already made huge strides forward in our work with community groups and organisations to help protect services such as libraries and community centres which we could no longer afford to run. We continue to make some one-off funding to help support this and reduce demand of council services.

“While our plans will address the challenge we face in the medium term, by 2021 we can expect those challenges to increase. The government is choosing to cut grants to local government much more than other parts of the public sector and this will hit more deprived areas with a low council tax base such as this borough than it will wealthier parts of the UK. ”

Anyone who has any comments on the councils budget plans or suggestions of ways the council can make savings is asked to email yourviewsmatter@telford.gov.uk

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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