County hall has approved a council tax hike that will see Hyndburn residents’ bills rise by at least £34 a year.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) has agreed to raise its council tax precept by 3.99 per cent to try and plug a “dire” budget shortfall, which adds an extra £31 a year to bills for Hyndburn residents in Band A properties, and £47 for ‘average’ Band D households.
The increase was voted through by a majority at a full council meeting in Preston on Thursday, February 9.
As part of the budget, it was agreed that council tax for 2017-18 be increased by 1.99 per cent plus a two per cent increase specifically for social care services.
Conservative Oswaldtwistle county councillor Peter Britcliffe said the increase would hit residents hard.
He said: “I understand part of the increase because of the pressures that the social services are under but I think it’s very disappointing that this rise will not mean any improvement on services.
“It’s not an insignificant amount and it’s just taking a little bit more money out of people’s pockets in what is a very fragile economy here in Hyndburn.”
The county council’s decision comes after Hyndburn council’s cabinet approved a separate 2.2 per cent council tax rise on February 8.
Lancashire Police is also seeking to increase its own precept, while Lancashire Fire and Rescue will announce any change on February 20.
County councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of LCC, said they had no option but to impose the hikes. She said: “We do not want to increase council tax but our dire financial situation means we have no choice. Even allowing for a 3.99 per cent rise over the next four years we will still have a funding gap of £153 million in 2020-21.
“We are working extremely hard to ensure that we can continue to provide services to the people of Lancashire, particularly to the most vulnerable in our community, but the stark truth is that it is difficult to see how we can continue to do that, particularly beyond 2018/19, when we will have used up all of our reserves.”
An extra £500,000 was approved for the county council’s road safety budget.
The borough council increase amounted to a rise of £3.34 for Band A properties and £5 for Band D properties.
Altham parish council has approved a separate 5 per cent rise for its residents - the equivalent of £1.34 per year for band A.
If the 2 per cent predicted rises for police and fire go through, Hyndburn residents will be left fielding a total bill hike of £37 and £56 for bands A and D respectively.
(based on a band A home, higher bands pay more)
* Hyndburn BC: Up £3.34 to £157.02 - 2.2 per cent rise
* Lancashire County Council: Up £31.25 to £814.49
* Lancashire Police: Consulting on £2.16 increase to £110.31 - 2 per cent rise
* Lancashire Fire: Unconfirmed - currently £65.50
* TOTAL: £1,147.32 (up £36.75)
(Altham Parish Council: Up £1.34 to £26.85 - 5.2 per cent rise)