February 21, 2020 12.55 pm This story is over 51 months old

“Question marks” over North East Lincolnshire future funding as tax hike passed

Council tax will rise

Question marks remain over how local government will be funded over the next few years in North East Lincolnshire, the leader has said.

The authority voted through a 3.98% increase in the authority’s council tax on Thursday night.

The budget is the first entirely Conservative-led one since the party took control of the council from the Labour leadership in May 2019.

The rise consists of a general 1.98% in council tax and 2% for adult social care as part of its budget, commissioning plans and outcomes framework for 2021-23.

Councillor Philip Jackson, Conservative leader, said uncertainty over the future was “why we felt we needed the extra security” of increasing the council tax base.

“There are a lot of question marks over how local government funding is going to go in future years.

“We don’t know what’s happening with the fair funding review we’ve had various rumours about how that might go.

“We don’t know where the government’s going at the moment with retention of business rates by local authorities and we still don’t have a long-standing resolution to the funding problems for adult social care and children’s services.”

He added that with Brexit stalemate now sorted out, he hoped government would begin focusing on the domestic issues again.

North East Lincolnshire Council leader Councillor Philip Jackson and deputy leader Councillor John Fenty. Photo: Daniel Jaines

The rise equates to around £74.13, or around 20p a day, based on an average Band D property charge of £1,863.76.

The move will see council tax income rise by £2,779,000 from £61,231,000 to £64,010,000.

Meanwhile, the adult social care precept will rise from £4,927,000 to £6,507,000 – a difference of £1,580,000.

Councillors were told that it had received a “real terms in crease in funding for the first time in ten years”.”

It includes an extra £147,000 in its revenue support grant, £1,130,000 in its business rates retention and £3,455,000 social care support.

However, the revenue support grant is not expected to be received from next year, with a one-year settlement being given to cope with changes to Local Government funding beginning from April 2021.

Council leaders were keen to planned benefits including further improvements to tourism, highways, anti-social behaviour, dog fouling enforcement and regeneration.

Deputy leader Councillor John Fenty admitted there would be some short-term pain as highways improvements took place, but added: “The future’s bright as what follows infrastructure is growth and prosperity as we make our towns attractive to visit and invest in.”

Councillor Matthew Patrick, Labour group leader on North East Lincolnshire Council. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

Opposition councillors said the budget “did not do enough to tackle the growing social challenges in our community”.

Councillor Matthew Patrick, Labour leader, added: “Nor does it offer any reassurances that this administration is capable of weathering the storm of austerity their own party dropped on North East Lincolnshire.”

An amendment, which called on the council to renegotiate £456,000 savings from the authority’s Engie contract to spend on investments such as tree planting, more Skip It servics and Family Hubs was voted down.

Councillor Fenty said the auhority had already made substantial savings from the contract over the years but that it was vital for the future planned investments under the South Humber Industrial Investent Programme.

He, and Councillor Jackson, said it would be difficult to make the requested savings.

Humberside Police’s precept is also set to increase this year after Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter approved a 2.2% rise.

It will see residents in a Band D property pay an extra £4.91 a year.

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