Hyndburn residents could be set to see their council tax rise in excess of £50 a year as local authorities look to fill significant budget gaps.
The borough council has already confirmed it will increase its share of the bill by as much as two per cent and Lancashire’s Police Commissioner has launched a consultation into possible increases to its charge.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) has confirmed it is currently proposing another 3.99pc increase in its council tax charge. That rise alone would add £47 per year to bills for Band D homes.
Oswaldtwistle county councillor and former Hyndburn council leader, Peter Britcliffe, said the increases are ‘to be regretted’.
He said: “Personally I’m sick of hearing them saying ‘we can’t do this or that’ when it comes to practical issues like roads and street lighting, and then you find them squandering money all over the place on projects there is no call for.”
MP Graham Jones laid the responsibility for the proposed rate hikes at the door of reductions in central government funding.
He said: “The government have let local councils down, especially those in the north by reducing drastically the amount the government gives in support. The government are asking councils to increase council tax to cover this shortfall, particularly adult social care, the elderly and people discharged from hospital who need help.”
LCC deputy leader Coun David Borrow said: “The county council’s budget will have to be approved by cabinet and then full council on February 9, but the proposal is to increase council tax by 3.99pc, which includes a 2pc increase specifically to go towards the cost of social care.”
He added: “Peter Britcliffe knows very well the scale of the financial challenge facing the county council as a result of Tory government cuts. “We are expected by the government to increase the council tax to help pay for adult social care. Our council tax increase of 4pc is much less than the 15pc proposed by Conservative Surrey County Council. No one likes putting the council tax up – but Tory funding cuts leave us with no alternative.”
A Hyndburn council spokesperson said: “The council is currently working on its budget proposals for 2017/18 and these will be announced in draft form at the Cabinet meeting on February 8 and a period of consultation will follow ahead of the final proposals and debate at the council meeting on February 23.”
Lancashire Police is seeking to increase its own precept, while Lancashire Fire and Rescue says any change in its precept will be announced in February by the Lancashire Combined Fire Authority.
Residents will be invited to have their say on Hyndburn council’s budget plans next month.
A resources overview and scrutiny committee meeting will take place at Scaitcliffe House in Accrington on Tuesday, February 14, at 10am.
Councillor Abdul Khan, chairman of the committee, said it is an opportunity for residents and businesses to hear about the council’s budget issues and council leader Miles Parkinson will answer questions.
How last year’s annual council tax bill was divided and proposals for 2017/18 (based on a Band D home, lower bands pay less):
Hyndburn BC: £230.52
Lancashire County Council: £1.174.86
Lancashire Police: £162.22
Lancashire Fire: £65.50
Hyndburn BC: Consulting on possible increase of up to 2pc
Lancashire County Council: Proposed 3.99 pc increase to £1,221.74
Lancashire Police: Consulting on 2pc increase to £165.45
Lancashire Fire: Unconfirmed