Tax hike approved in Ashfield amid ‘tough times’ for council’s budgets

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Ashfield residents will pay their district council more tax next year to support the authority during what it says are “tough times”.

Residents across the district will pay the council 2.94 per cent more from next month after the ruling Ashfield Independents approved the hike at the latest full council meeting – Labour voted against the plans while the Conservatives abstained.

The Ashfield Independents administration said the rise, which works out at £5.75 more per year, was “regrettable”, but came amid drops in central government funding.

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The increase will take the total paid for the authority up to £201.21 for the year in Band D properties.

Coun David Hennigan, Ashfield Council Independent member for Sutton Central and New Cross.Coun David Hennigan, Ashfield Council Independent member for Sutton Central and New Cross.
Coun David Hennigan, Ashfield Council Independent member for Sutton Central and New Cross.

It will also hit Band A homes – which make up the majority of all properties – with a £3.83 annual rise and a £134.14 total bill for the council’s services.

For Band B homes, the rise works out at £4.72 and takes the total precept for the authority up to £156.50.

And Band C homes will pay the council £5.11 more from April, giving the authority £178.85 in total.

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Coun David Hennigan, Independent member for Sutton Central and New Cross, said: “It’s important to set out the context of this budget.

“Ashfield has had a massive funding reduction [from the Government], leaving us really struggling and facing difficult decisions like the one this evening.

“We’re doing more with less. It’s not just councils like Ashfield taking this tough decision, Labour councils like Gedling and Nottingham say they have no choice.

“We’re struggling across the board, times are tough and we’re all feeling the bite of inflation and the cost of living, but if we don’t act, we simply wouldn’t have the money we need to continue to fund our vital frontline services.”

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His comments follow Government data showing the authority was the second-worst nationally for cuts to its spending abilities on core services.

The figures, published in December, showed the council will have 10.5 per cent less money from April compared with 2015/16.

Only one council out of 333 nationally had worse figures, with the authority expected to have £12.8 million available to spend on core services next year compared with £14.3m eight years ago.

Bills in Ashfield will increase further from April after Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire Fire Authority and Nottinghamshire Council also approved separate plans.

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Mrs Henry will hike annual bills by £9.96 for Band A or £14.94 for Band D homes, while the fire service is increasing bills by £5 for all homes.

Conservative-run Nottinghamshire Council is also increasing bills by £53.05 for Band A or £79.57 for Band D properties.

When factoring in the emergency service increases, Ashfield Council’s rise and the increase at County Hall, total annual bills in the district will be:

  • Band A: £1,523.15, total increase of £71.84;
  • Band B: £1,777.27, total increase of £83.22;
  • Band C: £2,030.44, total increase of £94.12;
  • Band D: £2,283.63, total increase of £105.26.