Council tax rise is on the cards
COUNCIL taxes look to set to rise again to help plug a £4.6 million funding black hole - with government funding set to disappear altogether in three years.
Hyndburn council bosses say they need to save that amount over the next three years - an ‘exceedingly challenging’ target - and the figure could jump by a further £1.2 million depending on inflationary pressures on salaries and other budget constraints.
Finance bosses said they will need to slash their budget by 16 per cent for 2018/19. Hyndburn received £7.1 million from the government in 2010/11, but by 2020/21 the authority will not receive any government support grant at all.
Council budget documents said council tax rises may be needed to help balance the books and that wage increases would ‘add to the overall pressures to make savings and may lead to redundancies’.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said they are ‘very exceedingly challenging targets, but they are not off-putting’.
He told a recent cabinet meeting: “There are challenges. The figures are large. By 2020/21 the total local government grant will cease and that’s a loss of £7 million and not taking into account inflationary pressures and wage growth.
“There will have to be restructures and savings and working with charity organisations, community groups and others who wish to come on board to help deliver the amount of savings the council require. I’m hopeful that we can meet those challenges.
“It’s important over the three-year period that we see our industrial estates deliver more jobs and more units.”
Tory group leader Tony Dobson said it needed “out of the box thinking”.
He added: “Although at the moment it is challenging and I don’t think we’ve ever hidden that fact, if we can focus on the future and get the problems of today resolved then we will be in a good place.”
Last year, Hyndburn council instigated its first council tax ‘precept’ rise since 2009, of 2.2 per cent.
Other precept rises - including a second consecutive 3.99 per cent rise by Lancashire County Council - combined to hike Hyndburn taxpayers’ overall bills by at least £3 a month.
The council expects to raise £4.5 million in council tax next year and £3.6 million in business rates, which could rise by a further £330,000 by 2020/21.
A table showing the reduction in government funding to Hyndburn Council.