Borough slammed for council tax increase

PUBLISHED: 12:14 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:15 26 October 2009

RESIDENTS will pay around an extra £30 for borough council services next year, writes Ben Griffiths. At a full Welwyn Hatfield Council meeting that laid out the budget for 2008/09, it was revealed its share of the council tax will increase by 2.1 per cent

RESIDENTS will pay around an extra £30 for borough council services next year, writes Ben Griffiths.

At a full Welwyn Hatfield Council meeting that laid out the budget for 2008/09, it was revealed its share of the council tax will increase by 2.1 per cent.

Opposition councillors criticised the Tory administration for not "making the most" of a central government grant that was almost five per cent bigger than last year.

This means that homeowners in the borough who own a Band D property will be required to pay just under £180 each month for borough services in the forthcoming year.

"The council is in a healthy position," said councillor Alan Franey at Thursday's meeting. "We are very happy with the final figures."

Labour councillor Steve Roberts said the council had, "just not taken their chances much like the England rugby team".

The Welshman drew comparisons between his nation's defeat of England in the Six Nations earlier in the month and the council's handling of the increased government grant.

"They took their eye off the ball and to compare John Dean to Jonny Wilkinson is tempting," he said.

Labour leader Margaret Birleson chose less amusing words to criticise the council's new budget describing the ruling group as "mean spirited" and "penny pinching".

Lib Dem leader Tony Skottowe questioned the council's need to increase tax considering the generous central government grant they received.

He said: "There appears to be a continuing drive to push up charges for residents when they are not needed."

Council leader John Dean described the budget as one that members should be "proud" of.

The motion set in the budget was carried with all the Tories voting in favour of the budget and only opposition councillors voting against.

The full council tax level people will pay will be finalised once the county council, relevant parish or town councils, and the police authority set their precepts.

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