Council tax in Welwyn Hatfield to increase by 2.3 per cent

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The final decision on the council's budget will be made on February 2 - Credit: PEXELS

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has outlined proposals to deliver a budget for the 2022-23 financial year, which includes increasing council tax by 2.3 per cent.

The council promises there will be no cuts to frontline services and that it will invest £129m into the borough.

This investment will be spent on an affordable housing programme, climate change initiatives that will continue to reduce the council’s carbon footprint, introducing more electric vehicle charging points, the continuing regeneration of both Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City town centres and a new crematorium at the Lawn Cemetery.

The council will receive a lower-tier services grant of £131,000 to help fund increasing pressures on local services provided at district level, such as homelessness, planning, recycling and refuse collection, and leisure services.

A 2.3 per cent rise in council tax is "below the rate of inflation" and will increase the average Band D tax by £4.95 – less than 10p a week -- to £224.10 for 2022/23.

A final decision on the budget will be made by full council on February 2.

Kieran Thorpe, leader of the Labour Group on Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council said: "These proposals point to another year in which residents will see their taxes rise and services cut. For several years, the Conservatives have cynically assured residents they are protecting front line services, but then cut them regardless. 

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"The Conservative council was recently found to be in breach of basic standards relating to housing, but they continue to squeeze budgets while asking hard-pressed residents to pay more through tax.  This isn't responsible governance, it is gross negligence.

"Labour will be providing a clear and strong alternative in the local elections this May. It does not have to be this way."

In response to Cllr Thorpe, executive member for resources Duncan Bell said: "We are actually protecting front-line services with this proposed budget.

"The reality is that we propose a modest increase of 2.26 per cent in council tax - less than half the current rate of inflation - to protect these services, and not to cut them.

"This is a budget that opposition councillors agreed was financially sound at a recent Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting. Labour's statement is confused, as funding for housing is separate from council tax. They raise it now merely for political gain. This is what opposition parties do when an election is coming up."