North East Lincolnshire Council leaders predicted “black holes” in their budget, which could see council tax rise by nearly 5% due to COVID impact on finances.
The authority’s cabinet on Wednesday passed proposals to increase council tax by 1.98% and the adult social care precept by 3% in 2021/22, along a new “COVID-19 reserve” in order to tackle ongoing pressures.
The authority managed to balance its funding this year, but predicts that nearly £9.3million of savings will need to be made by 2023/24.
Portfolio holder for finance and resource Councillor Stan Shreeve told members that a “considerable” amount of time had been spent putting the budget together.
“Despite the obvious difficulties presented, this draft budget still reflect in both revenue, and capital expenditure terms, this administration’s determination to improve our borough, and the lives of our residents through the provision of first class, efficient, services.
“It does not mean that there will not be hard decisions – of course there will be, but officers and cabinet colleagues are united in our aims to meet both strategic priorities: have stronger economy, and stronger communities.”
He added: “The media has focused on what it calls black holes in finances because that’s exciting, but, as was said at the time, a shortfall in areas was to be expected and stages, two, and three, of this draft still signpost for future financial challenges.”
The tax rise will equate to a rise of £92.81 to a total of £1,956.57 for a Band D property – an increase of £1.78 a week.
North East Lincolnshire Council leader Councillor Philip Jackson said the budget, which was started several months ago, had been a “long and torturous process.”
It will now go before scrutiny committees and out to public consultation before Full Council in February.