Council set to keep its promise with lower than inflation tax rise
LEADING councillors in South Ribble have delivered their promise to keep the borough council's tax rise lower than or equal to inflation this year.
Despite having received a shockingly low grant settlement from the Government for the next financial year, the Cabinet tonight proposed a lower than inflation tax increase of 14p a week to pay for services delivered by South Ribble Borough Council.
Following several weeks of number crunching, the Cabinet has proposed a 3.8% rise on its proportion of the council tax. The current rate of inflation stands at 4.1%.
If approved by the full council when it meets to finalise the budget on 5 March, this means the average Band D homeowner in South Ribble would be required to pay £3.79 a week for services including waste collection and recycling, planning, sports and leisure, building control, street cleansing, community safety, benefits, environmental health, local activities and the upkeep of parks and open spaces.
Councils are required by the Government to present their council tax figures based on a Band D property, but most homes in South Ribble fall within Bands A to C so the majority of local people can expect to pay less than 14p extra per week for the borough council's services.
The Cabinet's proposed budget allocates extra cash to cleansing, community safety and providing facilities for young people - all issues local people have identified as priorities through months of extensive consultation with the council. Key projects will include ploughing an extra £140,000 into street cleaning, litter picking and dealing with graffiti, fly posting and fly tipping; developing brand new playgrounds in Penwortham, Higher Walton and Much Hoole; further improving facilities at Withy Grove Park and spending cash on regeneration projects in Leyland town centre.
Coming up with a proposed tax rise that's lower than inflation has been a near impossible task this year thanks to growing pressures forced on the council by Central Government.
South Ribble is set to receive the fourth lowest amount of Government grant settlement in Lancashire this year at £7.2m. This figure represents a disappointingly low increase of just 1.5% on last year's grant and equates to a real terms loss because it doesn't come close to meeting the cost of inflation.
Coupled with that, the Government has landed the council with an extra £71,000 to find over the next year because it has failed to provide enough cash to deliver its new national concessionary scheme which will enable pensioners and disabled people to travel across England on local buses from April.
A change to the way the Government allocates its cash will also leave a gap of £21,000 in community safety funding that the council will be required to find from elsewhere.
To bridge these funding gaps, the council has been forced to reconsider introducing a pilot kitchen waste collection scheme and to rethink the amount of grant funding it can offer to local groups.
Councillor Colin Clark, cabinet member with responsibility for finance and resources, said:
"The Government has dealt us a shocking blow this year with the disgraceful amount of grant settlement it has promised for South Ribble and consequently we have had some very difficult decisions to make over this year's budget.
"But I am glad to say that despite all of this we have managed to keep our proposed tax rise below inflation to just 14p a week or less for the vast majority of local people. In the last year this council has been awarded top marks for the way it manages its resources and I am proud to say that our proposed budget continues this theme."
South Ribble Borough Council collects council tax on behalf of Lancashire County Council, the Lancashire Combined Fire Authority, the Lancashire Police Authority and local town and parish councils as well as the cash it needs to pay towards its own services. Decisions will be made by each of these organisations by the end of this month before South Ribble Borough Council finalises its budget on 5 March.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend the council's next meeting, at which the budget will be agreed. This will take place on Wednesday 5 March from 6pm at the Civic Centre on West Paddock in Leyland.
Last updated: 9 October 2008
Also in this Section
- Bamber Bridge Area committee meeting
- Benefits Cheat pleads Guilty
- Black and White times
- Council set to keep its promise with lower than inflation tax rise
- Eastern area issues up for discussion
- Free travel for over-60s leaves Council with tough cash dilemma
- Have your say on councillors' cash
- Higher Penwortham issues are on the agenda
- Issues up for discussion at Penwortham South Area Committee
- Mayor welcomes veterans to lunch
- Memories from the Munich Air Disaster on display
- Shining example of how to cut crime
- Something for everyone
- South Ribble Central Area committee meeting
- South Ribble's area committees set to get a new look
- Spring comes early to Leyland
- Western Parishes area committee
- Wind in the Willows comes to Worden Park