Plans in place for council tax rises

Council tax bills are set to rise from April
Council tax bills are set to rise from April

Taxpayers in the county are set for increased council tax bills from April.

A rise of 1.99 per cent for 2014-15 has been proposed by both the county council and police commissioner Adam Simmonds.

And with the two authorities’ precepts making up more than 85 per cent of total council tax bills, people across the county will have to stump up more, despite some other councils pledging tax freezes.

It means the average household will be paying about £2 a month more for services, although the county council, which receives about 72p of every pound collected, has pointed out its rates are still lower than any other county in England.

Kettering and Corby councils have proposed a zero per cent rise in their shares of the bill, while East Northants councillors will decide on Monday whether to implement a freeze or a 1.5 per cent hike. Wellingborough Council is planning a 1.99 per cent rise.

Its leader Paul Bell said he did not want to have to increase the tax for the first time in four years but said residents understood a rise was necessary, partly due to central funding cuts.

He added: “It will also help us protect our services.”

Police commissioner Mr Simmonds also said squeezed budgets were to blame, adding that he needed to find £20 million of savings in four years.

Corby Council leader Tom Beattie said his authority’s budget did not require a tax rise, adding that funds for Bonfire Night events and small grants would be maintained.

But he admitted difficult decisions had to have been made as a result of “substantial reductions” in Government funding and the introduction of welfare reform.

He also predicted future financial strains would prove to be unavoidable.

Cllr Ian Jelley, finance portfolio holder on Kettering Council, said a freeze could be delivered without cutting front-line services or third sector grants.

“I think it’s important for a lot of people that we do what we can for them,” he added. “A lot of people out there are suffering financially.”

County councillors approved the proposals this week, with the other councils holding their votes next week.

How it will affect you

Annual council tax bills for an average band D property in 2014-15 compared to 2013-14:

Corby £1,421.76 (up £24.30)

East Northants £1,369.26 (up £24.30) or £1,371.11 (up £26.15)

Kettering £1,451.00 (up £24.30)

Wellingborough £1,401.75 (up £27.35)