Scarborough Council approves council tax rise

Council tax on the rise
Council tax on the rise

Scarborough's residents will see a hike in their council tax bills for the coming year.

Today, Scarborough Council voted to approve an increase its share of the bill (13% of the overall figure) by 2.99%, an extra £6.62 a year for a Band D property.

It comes on the back of North Yorkshire County Council recently approving a £5 a month rise for Band D properties.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue is to increase its share by 3%, or £2.01 extra a year.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan has decided to increase the amount of precept for the police by an average of £11.50, or about £1 a month for a Band D property.

In the report that went before the full council, director Nick Edwards writes: "Over the financial years 2010/11 to 2017/18 the Council has had to identify ongoing savings of circa £17m from its annual revenue budget.

"As staffing resources reduce and savings become harder to identify it is becoming apparent that the length of time needed to deliver savings is increasing."

Cllr Helen Mallory, the cabinet member for finance, told councillors that the council was planning for the long-term.

She said: "The budget has to balance the cuts in government funding alongside protecting frontline services and investment in the borough.

"We intend to invest in the coming year including; £200,000 for repaving Dock End in Whitby, £600,000 3G sports pitch in Whitby, money for sports in Filey and more for improved grass cutting in the borough."

Also at the meeting, the borough council was setting its budget for the coming financial year. The Open Air Theatre is projected to make a £148,000 loss for the 2018/19 season, this follows it making an expected £211,000 loss in the last year, despite its best-ever season in terms of ticket sales.

Labour leader Cllr Steve Siddons criticised the budget.

He said: "This council cannot find money provide toilets for the people of the borough but can, almost on the hoof, find £200,000 for a deal with the rugby club [for squash courts].

"That decision should have come to full council but was voted on by cabinet despite failing almost every fairness test. It serves only the people of Newby and Scalby with no thought to equity.

"Then there is the Britney boom. We know that the council has lost £1 million on the Open Air Theatre and now we know what our share of the Britney boom will be: nothing.

"Not only that we continue to subsidise the promotional agency and are footing the £600,000 bill for increasing the seating."

Cllr Mallory came back to say that the squash courts were for everyone, not just Scalby and Newby. She said businesses in the borough benefit from people visiting the Open Air Threatre and said it was "wonderful for everyone in the borough."

Cllr Siddons also criticised the decision to not to adopt the UK Living Wage at the same meeting.

Labour leader urges Scarborough Council to build more social housing

He added: "We can find £150,000 for the Tour De Yorkshire but not £100,000 to pay the living wage to our own staff."

Cllr David Jeffels (CON) reported that the OAT had "put Scarborough on the international map as a venue".

He added: "Because of the OAT and the line-up of stars there can't be many people who have not heard of Scarborough.

"The benefits of investment and tourism to the borough must be reckoned with. We must see it as an investment rather than a one-off."

The budget was passed, though Labour members and some Independents, including Cllr Norman Murphy and Cllr Janet Jefferson, voted against it