South Kesteven District Council faces 'uncertain times' as authority backs council tax hike

  Posted: 03.03.20 at 10:44 by Calvin Robinson, Local Democracy Reporter

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South Kesteven District Council faces 'uncertain times' according to senior councillors, as the authority backed a 3.15 percent council tax hike.

Coun Adam Stokes, portfolio holder for finance at the authority, said the council faced 'tough challenges' in the coming years over future funding.

But he added that he remained confident that the government will carry out a 'roots and branches' review of how councils are funded.

Councillors backed budget plans which will see council tax rise by £5 on last year.

The increase would see council tax rise for the average Band D property in the district to £163.62.

As part of its budget plans, the authority has proposed to raise around £7.8 million in council tax.

But Coun Stokes said the one-year funding settlement offered by government means the authority is uncertain on its future finances.

“This is creating great uncertainty and as such the medium term projection is currently unbalanced pending further information on the funding review,” he said.

“We look forward to the government delivering on the promise of a complete roots and branches review of how funding is distributed and recognises the disproportionate costs councils like ours face in delivering services in sparse and rural areas.”

Last month Lincolnshire County Council councillors backed a 3.5 percent hike in council tax.

The rise consists of a 1.5 percent general rise and 2 percent for adult social care.

It means an average Band D property would see a council tax bill of £1,337.58, a £45 rise on last year.

Council leader Martin Hill said he was optimistic about future funding despite the need to increase the rate.

“We’re looking for some certainty this year about these things will roll out,” he said.

“So hopefully this time next year they’ll be a three or four year settlement so we can actually plan better for the future with some certainty.”

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones also saw his proposed 4.1 percent tax rise supported.

The county’s police and crime panel gave the go-ahead to increase Lincolnshire Police’s share of council tax in February.

The hike in the rate equates to £9.99 for a Band D property.

Mr Jones said the force was 'in a better position' now than last year.

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