5pc council tax hike on horizon to fill £70m hole
COUNCIL tax could rise by nearly five per cent as Cheshire East aims to balance its books.
The council has published its Pre-Budget Consultation 2018-21 which outlines its draft budget for the next three years.
The report includes a proposal to increase council tax by 4.99 per cent from April next year - which would see bills rise by £1 per week for an average Band D household.
It follows a 4.99pc increase in 2017 and 3.75pc increase in 2016.
Bosses state the authority needs to save money as it faces reductions in government grants and rising demand for adult social care and children in care, meaning it needs to find £70m over three years.
The council wants to become financially selfsufficient by reducing its reliance on central government revenue support grant from £40m in 2015/16 to zero in 2020.
Coun Paul Bates, cabinet member for finance and communications, said: “The number of residents receiving care and support from adult social care is increasing by four per cent a year and the number of children in social care placements has increased by 17 per cent.
“This council will always prioritise services for vulnerable people. This means other services will have to deliver savings. Robust action is being taken to reduce budgetary pressures and ensure balanced finances. And we will lobby the government to ensure future financial settlements continue to allow us to achieve this, while protecting frontline services.”
But councillor Laura Jeuda, who represents Macclesfield South, said: “This will hit families who are already struggling, with things like the interest rate rise. We do need more money for educa- tion, for adult social care, but the council needs to be prudent with taxpayers’ money.
“We are seeing the council fritter money away as it faces investigations by police.
“A rise in council tax is frustrating for residents when they see vital services like the buses going.”
The rise does not include any increases which may be due in precepts for parish councils, Macclesfield Town Council, Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue. A spokesman for the fire service and police said no announcement has yet been made on precept rises.
The deadline for comments is January 12. Email your views to comshapingourservices@ cheshireeast.gov.uk.
Ron Townley died after collapsing with a suspected stroke in the clubhouse at Priory Park, home to Macclesfield Rugby Club
Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for finance and communications at Cheshire East