Council tax payers in Herts face a six per cent increase in their bill after leaders at County Hall said they needed to protect front line services and support investment in growth.
The rise comes after the county council’s cabinet met at the end of last month. Members said they were addressing increased demand for services from an ageing and growing population as well as having to provide support for adults and children living with more complex needs.
They also pointed out that the amount of money they receive in core grant funding from central government has fallen in the face of growing inflationary pressures meaning that more has to be spent to provide the same level of service.
Meanwhile, the amount of money we receive in core grant funding from central government is falling by £22m in 2018/19 and at the same time we have faced growing inflationary pressures. This means that even without the extra demand, we would still need to spend more to provide the same level of service.
The increase in the bill is made up of a three per cent increase to support adult social care and a 2.99 per cent increase to help fund all the services the council provides.
David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Executive Member for Resources, said public consultation indicates that the majority of residents wanted to see a council tax increase rather than a reduction in service.
He commented: “While we would prefer not to place this extra burden on local council tax payers, we have a responsibility to do the best for all of our residents, particularly those most in need of our support.
“As part of the proposed budget, we will also be investing in key areas to address the challenges of a growing county. Alongside the planned investment into the maintenance of our busiest roads, we are investing an additional £29m over the next four years to improve the condition of our unclassified road network – that’s the roads that most of us live on, as well as rural lanes.
“And we are already working together with local partners to provide the infrastructure to support the delivery of over 90,000 homes over the next 15 years – with us directly helping to deliver 6,000 of these news homes through our own property company, Herts Living.
The proposed budget will be put before full council on February 20.
Picture Courtesy of Les Mead