Coun­cil tax to rise by 88p a week for av­er­age house­hold in the area

Macclesfield Express - - GROSVENOR CENTRE ROW - DANIELLE ROPER

COUN­CIL tax for Cheshire East res­i­dents will rise by 3.75 per cent af­ter be­ing frozen for five years.

The in­crease means Band D prop­erty res­i­dents will have to pay an ex­tra 88p per week - £1,261.95 a year com­pared to £1,216.34 the pre­vi­ous year.

It comes af­ter the cen­tral govern­ment grant al­lo­cated to coun­cils was slashed by more than £16m for 2016-17, pre­sent­ing the coun­cil with what mem­bers say are ‘the tough­est fi­nan­cial chal­lenges it has faced in seven years’.

But coun­cil of­fi­cers say vi­tal front-line ser­vices will con­tinue to be pro­tected.

Coun David Brown, Con­ser­va­tive deputy leader of Cheshire East Coun­cil, said the coun­cil had never faced such a sit­u­a­tion be­fore but said it was in ‘a far stronger po­si­tion than many other au­thor­i­ties’ due to ‘strong fi­nan­cial man­age­ment’. He added that many other au­thor­i­ties were ask­ing their res­i­dents to meet a greater in­crease.

He said: “I con­grat­u­late our fi­nance team on de­vel­op­ing a ro­bust bud­get in very chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances.

“Due to the ef­fec­tive way we have de­liv­ered ser­vices in re­cent years, we are in a far stronger po­si­tion than many other au­thor­i­ties. I hope that res­i­dents will un­der­stand our po­si­tion and will recog­nise that we con­tinue to de­liver ex­cel­lent value for money.”

He added: “While our in­crease is 3.75 pc, some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are in­creas­ing their coun­cil tax by 3.99 pc with the prospect of the same level of in­crease an­nu­ally for five years.”

Com­ment­ing on the Ex­press face­book page, Sam Red­fern-Perry didn’t sup­port the in­crease.

She said: “Mac­cles­field is the town Cheshire East for­got so I don’t think we should have an in­crease un­til we start to see Cheshire East in­vest­ing in Mac­cles­field.”

Siob­han Louise Kelly said: “I would hap­pily pay more when all the dog muck is cleaned off the paths near me.”

But Si­mon Yates said he did not ob­ject to the in­crease. He said: “I’m sur­prised it hasn’t been asked for sooner. Peo­ple have to ac­cept th­ese ser­vices we take for granted cost money and ul­ti­mately we are the providers of that money.”

Labour coun­cil­lor Laura Jeuda said the money should be used to keep front line ser­vices: “Most peo­ple are pre­pared to pay more for ser­vices but not for coun­cil­lors’ al­lowances.”

The coun­cil’s Cab­i­net will be asked to rec­om­mend the in­crease to coun­cil at its next meet­ing on Fe­bru­ary 25.

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