Nottinghamshire County Council leader, councillor Alan Rhodes, is, in my view, wrong to claim that he is “left with no choice” but to increase council tax by four per cent, and that the Government’s additional transitional funding of £2 million for Nottinghamshire in 2016/17 is “too little, too late”.
The Conservatives and other opposition political groups agreed to work with Labour at County Hall to try to set a joint budget for 2016/17. This was a positive process and we reached agreement or compromise on most aspects of the budget.
Conservatives are willing to agree to a two per cent council tax increase to fund additional social care pressures, but we will not support a four per cent increase. Nottinghamshire is already the highest charging shire county council in the country.
The extra two per cent described by Labour as unavoidable equates to £6 million per year, of which £2 million is now being covered by the Government. The remaining £4 million needs to be viewed in the context that Nottinghamshire County Council is predicting a £5.8 million under spend this year.
Labour’s proposed four per cent increase has nothing to do with need. They are simply demanding the maximum amount they can (3.99 per cent to be precise) below the threshold for a council tax referendum, just as they did last year and the year before that. The compound effect of Labour’s two per cent increases in 2014 and 2015, plus their proposed four per cent increase in 2016, would leave a band D council taxpayer paying £169 more, from April this year, than they were when the Conservatives left office in 2013.
Councillor Reg Adair
Conservative spokesman on finance and property, Notts County Council