Councillors agree to council tax freeze in Mansfield

Councillors have unanimously backed plans to freeze Mansfield Council’s portion of council tax from April.

By Jon Ball
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 1:15 pm

The authority had previously planned to increase the tax by 1.99 per cent, but then received a ‘higher than expected’ grant sum from the Government.

The higher grant came mostly in the form of the New Homes Bonus, given to the authority to recognise the number of new houses created and disused properties brought back into use.

It meant the authority decided it was able to freeze its precept for the upcoming year, with the grants plus extra savings helping claw back a £1.3 million financial black hole, without increasing residents’ bills.

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Coun Craig Whitby, Mansfield Council portfolio holder for corporate and finance.

Other incomes from the budget will include an increase in rent, a rise on market stall fees, a new trade glass collection service and a one-off use of £100,000 in reserves.

The budget for 2022/23 was approved during the latest the full council meeting.

Coun Mick Barton, leader of the opposition Mansfield Independents and member for Maun Valley, had initially planned an alternative budget when council tax was due to rise, but scrapped the plans following the amended grant figures.

Speaking on council tax, he said: “You seem to have ticked every box we were concerned about, so congratulations.

“It’s very sensible what you have done and I will give praise where it’s due.”

However, he raised concerns with the proposed 4.1 per cent increase in council tenants’ rents and the 7.1 per cent rise in market stall holders’ rents.

He said: “I will be supporting the budget, but have a few gripes with a few things I was surprised to see in there.”

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Coun Robert Elliman, member for Oakham, said: “I will be supporting this as ultimately, while I don’t agree with the constituent parts, in the end, we end up with a nil increase for residents.”

The freeze means residents will not pay the authority more in council tax from April this year.

Band A properties, which make up 55 per cent of all homes in the district, will continue to pay £129.81 to the council for the year.

Coun Craig Whitby, portfolio holder for corporate and finance, said the freeze was the ‘right decision’ for residents, but he criticised the Government for offering a one-year grant settlement when the council must provide a three-year financial plan, stating the authority is ‘at the begging bowl waiting for the Government to give us money’.

He said: “The freeze is not a decision taken lightly, as the cumulative effect of freezing this income is damaging to future revenue.

“However, we are acutely aware of the cost-of-living crisis residents are facing and this is the right decision at the right time.”

The authority’s decision only affects its own portion of council tax, with Nottinghamshire Council, the police and crime commissioner and Nottinghamshire Fire Authority and Warsop Parish Council yet to set their precepts for 2022/23.

About 72 per cent of council tax bills go to the county council, with the remainder split between lower-tier councils and the emergency services.

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