5 per cent hike in coun­cil tax agreed

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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