Just over a fortnight ago RUDDINGTON.info reported that Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) would raise its share of our Council Tax by 3.2% in the next financial year. However, there’s now been an even more significant announcement affecting village residents – that Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) will hike up its share by almost 3% this April.
The County Council’s portion – including its Adult Social care precept – accounts for around three quarters of our bill – dwarfing the amounts we must pay to RBC, Nottinghamshire Police, The Combined Fire Authority and Ruddington Parish Council. NCC says the inflation-busting rise, confirmed at yesterday’s annual budget setting meeting (Thursday 25th February), is necessary because the Coronavirus pandemic has substantially changed its budget position – with additional costs to the authority reaching £86 million this year.
In his speech to the Council, NCC’s Finance & Major Contracts Management Committee Chairman, Councillor Richard Jackson said: “At times of crisis, local authorities must be there for our residents, and I am immensely proud of the way Nottinghamshire County Council has responded. Our success in lobbying the Government, and our prudent budget management, have transformed the short-term financial outlook for the council. This means we can limit the total council tax increase for Nottinghamshire residents to 2.99% for the coming year, comprising a 1.99% rise in council tax and only a 1% increase in the Adult Social Care Precept.”
Mr Jackson defended this by saying it is much less than the 4.99% increase NCC could theoretically have levied under Government rules for 2021/22. He claimed it places his Council in the lowest 25% of council tax increases being proposed nationally: “It reflects our determination to minimise the pressure on local taxpayers at this difficult time. The increase will still raise £14.4m in additional money in 2021/22 to support more than 400 services across the county. The impact of COVID-19 required us to significantly revise our original spending plans for the year and change our immediate priorities. And we have done just that.”
Speaking prior to yesterday’s meeting, Councillor Jackson again courted controversy by suggesting that ditched plans to disband other local councils in Nottinghamshire could be brought back again: “We remain committed, when the opportunity arises, to creating a unitary council in Nottinghamshire which would release at least £27 million more per year for services” he said.