Council tax set to rise by five per cent in Kirklees

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Council tax in Kirklees is set to rise by five per cent from April, documents reveal.

A new report to be considered next week by the council’s Cabinet asks for a rise of two per cent in general spending, with an additional three per cent for social care proposed by government.

The proposed increase equates to just under £4 per month for a Band A household.

Leader of Kirklees Council David Sheard said: “We have reduced services across all sectors – some more visible than others, for example changing the way we collect waste to save money.

“But we continue to face our most serious ever financial challenge so many more services will be reduced, removed or taken on by other people or organisations.

Kirklees Council still faces savings of a further £50m by 2021.

In previous years reserves have been used to meet costs but the council said that usable reserves have now fallen from £93m to £42m, with a further £26m earmarked for use already.

Coun Sheard said: “Past decisions taken in good faith are also now costing us.

“We were told that if we froze our council tax, a zero per cent rise for our residents, we would receive the cash we would have gained from a two per cent increase.

“That money has not been added into the base budget, it was to come through grant and now that grant has been cut.

“It is costing us £14m every year. Withdrawing revenue support grant will cost us £33m over the next four years.

“We have made significant savings – over £120m - through efficiencies and transformation, with further savings budgeted - but even after these are applied the scale of the financial challenge is massive.

“Kirklees is still the eighth worst funded council nationally, and the second worst funded Metropolitan council in the country per head of population.”

For the first time this year, the proposed budget will cover four years.

Once Cabinet has made a recommendation on Tuesday, the full council will meet to discuss the budget and make a final decision on Wednesday, February 15.

Cabinet meeting agenda papers are available on the council’s website at http://bit.ly/2jUm3dc