5 per cent hike in council tax agreed
THE council has agreed to increase council tax by nearly five per cent to help fight the cost of adult social care.
The rise was approved at a full Cheshire East Council meeting on Thursday (February 23).
Of the 4.99 per cent increase, three per cent will go directly towards caring for the elderly and vulnerable, where the council must fund a £97m adult care budget.
Cheshire East Council originally proposed a 3.99pc hike last autumn, but prime minister Theresa May asked councils to add a further 1pc to cover the ballooning adult social care bill.
The council has set a revenue budget of almost £264m to spend across its frontline services. It will cost taxpayers around £3 per day, while the increase equates to £1.21 per week on the average Band D property.
In 2017-18 the average Cheshire East council tax will be in the order of £1,324 per year, which the council says is lower than the national average of all unitary authorities.
Councillor Peter Groves, cabinet member for finance, said: “We are left with little choice but to introduce year-on-year increases until 2020, owing to the enormous financial challenges that we, and all local authorities, now face.
“Despite austere times, our productivity and value for money has continued to increase.
“Caring for our vulnerable residents is paramount though, and Cheshire East Council wishes to reassure those individuals and their families that their needs will receive priority and our full commitment.
“We spend 54 pence of every pound supporting our vulnerable residents, whether they are young people seeking a start in life or those with particular health needs.
“We will continue to do all in our power to protect frontline services, including caring for the vulnerable – young and old.
“For adult social care services alone, we will need to find an additional £20m to balance the budget.
“By 2019-20 there will be no general government grant support to the revenue budget of Cheshire East Council. The speed of this change is a major challenge.”
The council’s turnover is in excess of £700m and its net budget for 2017-18 stands at £263.8m.
In addition to the 500 or so services provided to residents each day, Cheshire East has an ambitious capital investment programme of more than £500m over the next three years.
Coun Peter Groves, cabinet member for finance