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Middlesbrough Council Proposes 2% Council Tax Rise

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Picture: Middlesbrough Council Chamber

Middlesbrough Council has proposed a rise in council tax by 2% after  discussions were held about its budget for the next three years.

The council’s spending review was discussed at a recent  council meeting and  set out that council tax will rise by “2% per annum over the Medium Term Financial Plan period.”

In the wake of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, it is thought that many local authorities will use the permitted 2% increase to make up for national government cuts.

The policy known as the “social care precept” will permit the 2% rise, providing the extra funds are spent on adult social care.

Speaking about the policy, George Osborne said: “Many local authorities are not going to be able to meet growing social-care needs unless they have new sources of funding.”

The decision to make use of the 2% permitted rise in Teesside was met with anger by one Middlesbrough Council member.

Conservative Councillor Christine Hobson said  the decision gave little thought to local residents.

“I’m a bit disappointed about the 2% council tax rise,” She said.

“We actually have all these people being made redundant and here we are still trying to put the council tax up.

“I am sure that the new houses that are being built are bringing in council tax and also the New Homes Bonus that is not ring-fenced – we can spend that on whatever we wish.

“I am sure that would have offset putting the council tax up – we really must start to think about our residents.”

Picture: Industry in Middlesbrough

Picture: Industry in Middlesbrough

However, the proposed rise was defended by Middlesbrough’s Mayor Dave Budd.

He said:  “Yes, we must start thinking about our residents and I hope you will be writing to your government about that as well.”

“We will be waiting with some interest for your alternative budget.”

Councillor Budd went on to outline the way the New Homes Bonus works:

“How many more times do we have to explain how the New Homes Bonus works?

“It is money taken away from us redistributed back to us in a smaller bag.

“This is a redistribution by a Conservative government that has been going on for such a long time and I really think you should understand that by now.”

Middlesbrough Council’s full Strategic Plan 2015-18 is available on the Middlesbrough Council website.

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