Residents are to be hit with a financial double whammy in the coming financial year, according to Lib Dems in B&NES. The Conservative-run Council has today confirmed that local Council Tax will be raised by a total of 3.25%. However Lib Dems are warning that this will not meet the budget gap and that cuts to public services and increases in fees and charges are to be expected.
Lib Dem Group Leader Dine Romero (Southdown) said:
“This budget announcement is short on detail and long on passing the buck. What is particularly concerning is that the Cabinet appears to be looking at only the next financial year. The next four years will see over £40 million of cuts to Council budgets and the Conservatives have been very secretive about where these will fall. Residents will have to expect cuts and changes to public services plus increases in fees and charges, on top of an annual Council Tax hike.”
“This clearly shows the difference between the coalition government, which protected residents from Council Tax rises, and an unfettered Conservative government which has the knives out for local government.”
Councillor Andy Furse (Kingsmead, Lib Dem) is Lib Dem spokesperson on the budget. Andy commented:
“The 2% so-called ‘precept’ for social care is a Council Tax increase in disguise. When added to the 1.25% general Council Tax increase announced today, the total is a 3.25% rise in the coming financial year. This will come as a nasty surprise to local residents – many of whom will not be receiving any pay increase – after rates were frozen for 4 years under the Liberal Democrats. ”
“Liberal Democrats in B&NES recognise that our social care system is under a lot of pressure and that the added flexibility to draw in more funding is hard for Councils to refuse. Nevertheless, it cannot be left solely to local taxpayers to fix our chronically underfunded care system. This is a government sleight of hand to offload an expensive responsibility.”