Council tax freeze agreed in Scarborough but bill payers still face £50 increase

Scarborough Council has agreed to freeze its share of the council tax for the coming year but residents still face being hit in the pocket to the tune of at least £50.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 12:05 pm

The borough council voted unanimously not to increase its precept, which makes up approximately 13% of a rate payers bill, meaning that a resident in a Band D property in the borough would once again pay £239.75 for the year.

However, North Yorkshire County Council which makes up around 63% of the total council tax has increased its share of the precept by 3.49%, including a 1.5% social care precept rise, equivalent to an extra £47.58 a year for an average household.

The county’s police service raised its share of the tax by £5.29 a year and the fire services’ level also went up.

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Bill payers face a £50 increase despite a freeze agreed by the council.

It means that a resident in a Band D property in Scarborough town will pay £1,996 for the year, a rise of £54.32 on 12 months ago.

Residents outside of Scarborough town will also pay a parish or town council precept which is on average an extra £25 a year on their bills.

In presenting the £72 million budget today, the council’s portfolio holder for Corporate Resources, Cllr Janet Jefferson said that there appeared to be a brighter outlook for the future.

Cllr Jefferson said: “We understand the financial difficulties our residents and businesses are facing.

“We are supporting major borough projects with investment totalling in excess of £12 million through our five year capital strategy and capital programme. “These funds are being ring fenced to eight themes linked to the corporate plan to build a better borough.”

She added: “This is a good news story. A light at the end of the tunnel for the residents and businesses of Scarborough, Whitby and Filey following such a difficult year both financially, physically and mentally.”

The council’s budget for 2021/22 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 million by 2024.

The council will make £335,000 in efficiencies and savings and will draw £500,000 from its reserves to balance the budget this year.

A £900,000 “Covid contingency” is also built into the budget to deal with the pandemic fallout.

As part of the budget a Better Places Locality fund has been created that will give each of the authority’s 46 councillors £2,000 that they can spend on environmental improvement projects in their wards, similar to a scheme currently run by North Yorkshire County Council.

During Friday's meeting the councillors voted to lower the minimum award that a councillor could grant from £500 to £250.