March 2, 2022 10.14 am

City council approves 1.89% tax rise in budget discussions

An extra £5.40 a year – a total of £290.79.

City of Lincoln Councillors approved a 1.89% council tax increase as part of the council’s budget for 2022/23.

A Full Council meeting on Tuesday saw members vote by a majority to approve the measure which would see a Band D property pay an extra £5.40 a year – a total of £290.79.

This is on top of a 4.99% increase to the county council contribution and a 3.75% increase for the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner. The tally for all three is £1,999.26 for a Band D property – an overall 4.35% increase.

The authority has a savings target of £1.5 million in addition to £10 million already cut in the past 10 years. A further £5.8 million of savings are estimated to be needed over the following four years.

It will have a spending requirement of £8.907 million,  expected to rise to £11.279 million for 2023/24 and £12.862 million for 2024/25.

Labour council leader Councillor Ric Metcalfe told members there was “lots and lots of uncertainty” over the next five years.

“We are still living with the legacy of the damage inflicted by COVID-19 on the finances of the council,” he said.

“And, now, we are faced with significant rising costs and inflationary pressures right across the board.”

He noted issues with labour supply, a lack of clarity over funding and international situations such as that in Ukraine.

“So there is some uncertainty in almost every direction that we look,” said Councillor Metcalfe.

Councillors were told the overriding strategy would continue to “drive down its net cost base to ensure it maintains a sound and sustainable financial position”.

The rise was approved unanimously.

A series of amendments to the budget were put forward to the council by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition.

They included increased enforcement fines, a freeze on parking charges, one hours free parking at Lincoln Central Car Park, new PCSOs, more public seating and the reopening of West Gate Toilets.

Conservative group leader Councillor Thomas Dyer said he hoped for improved sailing going forward with the new Secretary of State Michael Gove.

He said his party had given them enough time and warned that the difficulties the council face would only be compounded by the situation in Ukraine.

He used the meeting to raise concerns over the cost of some Lincoln Council projects including the Western Growth Corridor and the cost of the Central Car Parks.

He said: “Local councils have a critical role toe play on the levelling up a… [which]… must be a priority across the City of Lincoln and Everywhere else across Greater Lincolnshire.”

He said his amendments would help with the recovery of the city and help to attract more people in.

However, they were voted down, with Labour criticising a lack of time to scrutinise them and funding to pay for them.