Council tax hike for Cheshire East residents

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Cheshire East Council has approved its budget and strategic priorities for the next four years, which includes a 4.99 per cent increase in council tax for the first year.

The medium-term financial strategy and corporate plan for 2021-25 were approved at full council today (Wednesday, 17th February). These documents set out the council's plans for spending and income, and the priorities for service delivery and investment over the next four years.

The 4.99 per cent takes the average Council Tax for Band D to just under £2000, which can be summarised as follows:

Cheshire East Borough Council £1,579.03 - increased by 4.99% (including 3% ringfenced for Adult Social Care pressures)

Average for Parish Councils £59.11

Average Local Council Tax £1,638.14

Police & Crime Commissioner £225.44 - this represents a 7.1% (£15) increase on the 2020/21 Band D Council Tax level.

Cheshire Fire Authority £80.87 - this represents a 1.99% increase on the 2020/21 Band D Council Tax level.

Total Council Tax £1,944.45

The plans include an increase in the annual budget of £12 million to support older people and other adults with complex needs, as well as investing in services for vulnerable children and young people, a £400 million investment in new roads and capital infrastructure as well as, schools, growth and ICT services.

This includes investment in projects to support the council's carbon neutral aims, town centre regeneration, projects to improve walking, cycling and rail capacity in the borough, and capacity on the road network to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

The council's revenue budget for 2021/22 is £311 million. Most of this budget, around 68 per cent, will be spent on adult social care and looked-after children. By contrast, the money available for highways maintenance services is just five per cent of the council's budget.

Councillor Amanda Stott, cabinet member for finance, ICT and communications, said: "This is the most challenging budget we have had to put together. Covid has had, and continues to have, a massive impact on both national and local government budgets.

"In December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced another single year financial settlement for local government. This clearly makes it harder for us to plan for the long-term. Agreeing a balanced budget for the four-year period of the new corporate plan is a real achievement, considering the financial uncertainties of the last year.

"The government's approach to local government funding this year was based on local taxation, not central funding. This means giving councils the facility to increase council tax to cover increased demand for local services in areas, including adult social care.

"We listened to the feedback from residents, businesses and other stakeholders and achieved a balance between protecting and improving services – particularly for vulnerable people – investing in the future and giving greater financial certainty.

"Part of this was the difficult decision to increase council tax to 4.99 per cent for the first year of this plan. That was not an easy decision, and the council will review the way our working-age families are protected through council tax support. This increase includes the three per cent permitted by government for adult social care. We have set future council tax rises at 1.99 per cent."

Leader of the council, Councillor Sam Corcoran said: "We have agreed a positive and ambitious plan for Cheshire East for the next four years. We have a sound basis to deliver our priorities that is firmly linked to the budget.

"The corporate plan includes the priority to 'listen, learn and respond to our residents, promoting opportunities for a two-way conversation' and the positive engagement we have seen around these plans is testament to that.

"The plan also says we will 'support a sustainable financial future for the council, through service development, improvement and transformation'. I believe that the budget plans we have agreed provide that financial sustainability.

"I am also pleased that our plans for a carbon-neutral future were also supported through responses from the public – that 'green thread' continues to run through everything we do."

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of the council said: "These are not only plans for sustainability – they are plans for growth and economic recovery.

"We have seen a huge increase in demand for people-related services, with associated cost pressures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"At the same time, we have seen falling income from our revenue-generating activities such as car parking, leisure centres and visitor attractions such as Tatton Park. This has highlighted the importance for the council to invest in economic recovery as we begin to move out of the pandemic, planning for more jobs and more efficient local public services.

"Our vision is for an open, fairer and greener Cheshire East – these plans show how we intend to achieve that."

Tags:
Cheshire East Council, Council Tax
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 20th February 2021 at 1:59 pm
Tatton Park's revenues have fallen because they had a very rigid booking system last summer just to visit their huge gardens . One had to book an exact slot a few days in advance and unlike even the National Trust if there were weather related issues or Car issues ( as we did) which forced one to cancel a few days prior, Tatton, (i.e the Council) pocketed the money and would not allow changes. The woman I spoke to was rude and snippy and told me we would have to re book and pay again. When we did return the lady at the Garden desk allowed a family in who had just turned up on spec' and the gardens were pretty empty. They have appalling PR and the staff wages are guaranteed via our Council Tax so some clearly do not care what happens to the site
Jon Williams
Saturday 20th February 2021 at 7:41 pm
Tony:
Tatton Park's revenues have fallen because of the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As of 20 February 2021, more than 110 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 2.45 million deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Just in case you did not know.

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