Welwyn Hatfield Council set to propose council tax increase

PUBLISHED: 10:56 29 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:00 29 December 2017

Welwyn Hatfield Council is set to propose a council tax increase

Welwyn Hatfield Council is set to propose a council tax increase

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield Council will propose to raise council tax in response to 11 per cent of its core government funding being slashed for next year.

The local authority said it wants to increase the levy by an average of £5 per year, taking the total borough council precept to around £206.

A council spokeswoman said it will not be dipping into its General Fund reserves, but the budget gap caused by cuts has forced WHC to propose the tax increase.

The rise is below inflation and lower than the three per cent maximum allowed, she added.

Cllr Duncan Bell, executive member for resources, said: “The amount of money available from government has continued to decline at a time when demand for services is increasing.

“Deciding how best to use our limited resources is one of the biggest challenges we face.

“It is never easy to ask residents to pay more council tax, however with the proposed Band D increase of less than 10p per week, we are able to protect people at a local level from the impact of spending cuts.”

It comes days after Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd also said he wanted to raise the police precept by £12 each year.

The county council has been contacted for confirmation of its tax plans.

Welwyn Hatfield Council’s core grant funding from central government has been slashed by a further 11 per cent for 2018/19 – a cumulative 63 per cent cut since 2010, the council said.

“Despite the difficult times ahead, we are committed to doing the very best for our communities,” Cllr Bell added.

Outlining other Budget plans, to be discussed early next year, the council said an additional £600k will be invested in services, as well as £16million to improve facilities and generate income.

The council spokeswoman said that includes the continued regeneration of Hatfield town centre, a schedule of litter and dog bin replacement, investment in play areas and a garage refurbishment programme.

Frontline services will continue to be protected, she added, due to increased income from council-owned garages, its property portfolio and a review of Campus West’s CW Entertainment.

The proposals will be considered by Full Council on February 5 before the setting of council tax at a meeting on February 21.

Cllr Bell said: “I hope many residents will welcome our spending plans and our long term capital investments, including £85million over five years on our affordable housing programme.”

*What are your thoughts? Email letters@whtimes.co.uk

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