Calls to limit Nottinghamshire County Council tax rise amid concerns over ‘cost of living crisis’
Opposition councillors have called on Nottinghamshire County Council to limit any council tax increases in April amid concerns over a ‘cost of living crisis’.
The authority is going through its budget-setting process and will decide in the coming weeks whether to increase its council tax precepts.
Under government rules, local councils can legally increase their standard precept – used to fund day-to-day services – by a maximum of 1.99 per cent without calling a referendum.
Upper-tier authorities like Notts County Council can also increase the separate social care precept by 1 per cent in April.
However, it comes amid rising concerns over the cost of living for households in the UK.
Experts suggest household gas and electricity bills could soar from the spring after the cost of wholesale fuel soared in the autumn, with suggestions bills could rise by as much as £1,000 per year.
Concerns have also been raised about the cost of food in supermarkets, the price of fuel at petrol pumps, rising inflation and the upcoming 1.5 per cent rise in National Insurance.
And opposition members believe residents will be hit hardest by the crisis, urging the Conservative-led council to consider the upcoming issues when setting the tax.
Councillor Jason Zadrozny, member for Ashfields, said: “Literally everything is going up, from energy prices going through the roof, food prices rocketing and fuel prices pricing poorer residents off the road.
“Nottinghamshire County Council can do something to help and we urge the Conservatives who run the council to do their bit to help residents.”
The councillors will be submitting a motion to the council meeting on January 20 calling for the authority to ‘keep council tax rises to a minimum’.
It will also urge the council to ‘consider the impact of the cost of living crisis when setting council tax’.
Notts County Council says it appreciates the ‘financial pressures facing individuals and families’ as a result of the cost of living, but will be working in the coming weeks to set a balanced budget.
It follows what many councils described as a ‘higher-than-expected’ grant settlement from the Government, which has increased council spending power by 6.9 per cent on average.
Coun Richard Jackson, county council finance committee chairman, was unable to confirm whether the tax will rise, but said the budget-setting process will consider ‘a range of factors’.
He said: “I appreciate the financial pressures facing individuals and families as a result of the increased costs of living.
“As a council, our duty is to set a balanced budget each year to enable us to deliver the sustainable and high-quality frontline services expected of us.
“We will work hard over the coming weeks to develop a budget that works, taking into account a range of factors including the money we receive as a part of the final local government settlement grant which has yet to be confirmed.”
Notts County Council’s precepts make up about 72 per cent of council tax bills across the county.
The tax levels for the police and crime commissioner, the fire authority and individual district and parish councils, which make up the remainder of residents’ bills, are also yet to be confirmed.