Fears combined authority plans will mean another tax rise for Nottinghamshire

Independent councillors are demanding assurances a ‘significant council tax rise’ will not happen as part of the creation of a combined Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire authority.

Friday, 1st July 2022, 5:59 pm

The Independent Alliance opposition group have put forward a motion to Nottinghamshire Council, calling for the authority to oppose any introduction of a mayoral precept.

They claim this could otherwise lead to annual council tax bills rising by £100 per band D household – less for the majority of houses in Mansfield and Ashfield, which are band A.

The motion reads: “This council notes Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire councils are in negotiations to create a combined organisation.

The Ashfield Independents are concerned a combined authority will mean another hike in council tax

“That the bid calls for a large number of extra powers to be given to the East Midlands Mayoral Combined Authority from central Government.

“This council notes the bid calls for any new executive mayor or governor to have the power to introduce an extra precept – an additional section on council tax bills.

“This will see residents paying more in council tax every year.

“This council believes this is the wrong time to be raising council tax again and therefore commits to making it clear during negotiations that Nottinghamshire Council is against any introduction of a mayoral precept.”

However, Coun Ben Bradley, council leader and Mansfield MP, said he does not feel tax rises would be necessary if the area adopts an elected mayor.

Coun Francis Purdue-Horan, proposing the motion, said any new mayor should not come with a price tag during a cost of living crisis.

He said: “People across Nottinghamshire tell me they couldn’t care less about a new mayor or governor, what they care about is the price tag.

“This is a chance for Nottinghamshire Council to rule out a rise in council tax.

Coun David Martin, member for Selston, seconding the motion, said: “We are concerned at plans to include a mayoral precept and the impact on council tax.

Residents are living in an unprecedented cost of living crisis.

“Residents in Nottinghamshire already pay the highest council tax of any shire county in the country. They shouldn’t have to pay more to compensate for decades of under-funding.”

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Coun Bradley, Conservative, said: “If the proposals are agreed, we would get new regional powers and funding. It would mean more money for services in our region, more major decisions being made in the East Midlands, nearer to the people they affect, rather than in London, and a bigger voice for our area.

“In our initial bid to the government, we have asked for everything potentially on offer, as we don’t want to rule anything out at this early stage in negotiations. However, of the nine existing mayoral combined authorities, eight have this power, but only two have used it.

“I’ve already been clear I don’t want to see any tax rises as a result of this, that I wouldn’t support tax rises and I don’t feel they are necessary. In fact, I think the support and additional finance that could come through this plan could help us keep local taxes down.

“Of course, nobody can promise now what a future mayor may or may not do years in the future, but I can be clear there are no plans to raise any additional taxes as a result of this proposal.”