Council tax rise opposed by Scarborough councillors

Residents of Scarborough dealing with the economic pressures of the pandemic should not face a council tax rise, local councillors have claimed.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 12:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 12:24 pm

Scarborough Council’s cabinet has today proposed to not raise the authority’s share of the precept for 2021/22, which makes up approximately 13% of a rate payers bill, due to the impact of the last year on people in the borough.

It means a resident in a Band D property in the borough would once again pay £239.75 for the year.

Cllr Janet Jefferson, portfolio holder for corporate resources told the cabinet meeting that it was not time to raise the tax.

A resident in a Band D property would pay the same rate they did in 2019/20.

She said: “We feel for this coming year we need to help every resident through these difficult times.”

A report prepared the cabinet added that a £5 a year rise to the council tax level (Band D) is proposed to be applied in each of the following two years.

North Yorkshire County Council, which makes up around 63% of the total council tax bill for residents, is considering increasing its share of the precept by 1.99%, equivalent to an extra £27 a year for an average household, to fund pandemic support and recovery and other priority areas.

The county’s police and fire services are also consulting on whether to freeze or raise their share of the tax.

In total, a Band D property in Scarborough paid £1,941.68 in 2020/21.

The borough council’s cabinet report laid out the financial impact of the pandemic on the authority and the potential ramifications of the Government’s Fair Funding Review which will see the council need to make budget savings of £4.9 million by 2024.

However, the report was written before January’s new lockdown, meaning the picture may change once more.

It stated: “Covid-19 has understandably had a significant impact on council budgets in terms of income reductions and additional cost pressures, and the council will face a net budgetary shortfall of £2 million in the 2020/21 financial year as a result of the pandemic.”

The report added that the council’s annual grant funding from central government is expected to reduce by a further £1.9 million in the next three years.

The budget will now go out to consultation before being voted on by the full council next month.