Welwyn Hatfield Council defends tax rise

Conservative Councillor Duncan Bell, Hatfield Villages

Conservative Councillor Duncan Bell, Hatfield Villages - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Hatfield’s political finance chief had defended the borough council’s decision to increase its tax demands on residents.

A special full meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Council on Monday night agreed the 2017/17 budget, including a two-and-a half-per cent rise in the authority’s share of council tax, the first for eight years, which will cost about £5/year for a Band D home.

Councillor Duncan Bell, cabinet member for resources, said: “The Government has cut around £4million from our grant and we’ve had to make some difficult budgeting decisions to keep the wide range of services the people of Welwyn Hatfield value so highly.

“The cuts we face go well beyond this next year and we are focused on driving financial self-sufficiency, to protect residents from further reductions in government spending and continue our investment in the borough.

“We are looking at ways to find new sources of income and make our funds work harder for the benefit of Welwyn Hatfield.”

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The authority is getting about £4 million from the Government in 2016/17, about half the grant in 2010.

The budget includes £400,000 projected income from the controversial decision to charge for garden waste collection, and £200,000 savings from bringing the housing service in-house

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The council will also increase its 2017/8 income by £200,000 from higher garage rents and redeveloped flats in Hatfield town centre.

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