February 22, 2019 10.30 am This story is over 38 months old

‘Austerity isn’t over’, says council leader as 2.98% tax hike backed

The council is finding it harder to provide essential services

The leader of North East Lincolnshire Council called on the government to end to “devastating” cuts after the authority passed a 2.98% council tax hike.

The move which was backed at a full council meeting is expected to raise £61 million for the authority, though £4.9 million is ring-fenced for adult social care.

It means the increase will add 56p extra per week for a Band A property

The council said the move is in line with budget plans which were passed last March.

The budget also includes capital investment of over half a million pounds to create further local placements for vulnerable children, with millions also set aside for local investment, including the SHIIP project, the Great Grimsby Town Deal and Cleethorpes townscape works

Grimsby Town Hall. Photo: David Wright

An extra £1.3 million was given to the authority by the government for social care, but council leader, Ray Oxby, described the funds as a “sticking plaster”.

He added that the council is finding it harder to provide quality of services following reductions in funding.

“Our challenge is to try and balance the delivery of services that affect everyone,” he said.

“But it’s becoming harder and each year we have to make cuts. It makes the next year more difficult as there is less to go at.”

He called for fairer funding for the Humber region’s towns and cities and said “austerity is not over”.

Philip Jackson, leader of the NEL Conservatives and opposition on the council. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

But, Conservative opposition leader, Councillor Philip Jackson, described the budget plans as “more of the same”.

He added that the ruling Labour group “just blames the government for everything”.

It comes as authority’s across the region are looking at other avenues of income in the face of funding cuts from government.

Councils are expected to see a further reduction in their revenue support grant, the main source of funding from central government.

A amendment by opposition councillors to the budget to provide more money for grass cutting and litter collections was voted down.

Councillor Jackson said the funds would help to “attract business” and “bring pride” to the borough.

However, the amendment was lost by 20 votes to 18.

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