Hyndburn residents are facing a hike in council tax bills of at least £30 a year after the county council announced a 3.99 per cent hike in its precept.
Budget proposals including a 1.99 per cent basic increase - with an extra 2 per cent increase specifically for social care services - were approved at a meeting of Lancashire County Council’s cabinet on January 21.
Currently, Band A residents pay £1,056 a year in council tax, of which £753 funds county council budgets.
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Lancashire County Council leader, said: “We face an unprecedented financial challenge as a result of relentless cuts in central government funding combined with a rising demand for our services, which means we have to take a number of extremely difficult decisions.
“One of those decisions is to recommend that council tax be increased by 1.99 per cent plus a 2 per cent increase for a social care precept, specifically encouraged by central government to go towards the increasing demand for social care. The reality is that the money provided by this increase will only go a small way to offsetting reductions in government funding.
“County councils came out worst in the recent local government finance settlement and we will see our government funding reduce by more than £300 million over the next four years.
“In spite of previously identified savings and the £65 million of savings in these budget proposals, even if these are agreed by full council we will still need to find a further £200 million of savings by 2020.
“We also need to spend the council’s useable reserves to balance the budget over the next two years and it is not clear at this point how we will be able to deliver even statutory services beyond that point.”
Previously, councils would have had to hold a referendum if they wanted to increase council tax by more than 1.99 per cent.
However, in his Autumn spending review, the Chancellor George Osborne gave councils powers to increase council tax to fund social care.
The proposals will be taken to a meeting of LCC’s full council on February 11, where they are expected to be formally approved.
The county council precept accounts for the lion’s share of the council tax bill, with the rest comprised of Hyndburn council, police, fire and waste services precepts.
At a Hyndburn full council meeting last night, councillors defeated a proposal to increase their own precept by 1 per cent, but instead approved a cut in maximum support levels for working age council tax support claimants from 80 to 73 per cent.
Together with the LCC rise it means thousands of the borough’s worst off residents who were in receipt of 100 per cent council tax benefit until 2003 will see a hike in their bills of over £82 a year to around £293. The changes do not apply to people over the age of 63.