Plea to limit council-tax rises as Hucknall folk face 'cost of living crisis'

A call has been made to limit any council-tax increases in April amid concerns over a “cost of living crisis” looming for households in Hucknall and wider Nottinghamshire.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:28 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:28 am
Concerns are being voiced about potential council-tax rises

Nottinghamshire County Council 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 the county council can also increase the separate social care precept by one per cent in April.

However, council documents show authorities can also carry forward any increases to the social care precept from previous years, where the council did not take advantage of a maximum three per cent rise available.

Last year Nottinghamshire County Council increased its standard council tax precept by 1.99 per cent and raised the social care bill by one per cent.

It means the authority can increase council tax by as much as 4.99 per cent from April – 1.99 per cent for the standard bill, one per cent for this year’s social care precept and the remaining two per cent from last year’s bill.

But 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 at County Hall believe residents will be hit hardest by the crisis, urging the Conservative-led council to consider the upcoming issues when setting the tax.

Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), who represents Ashfield’s division, added: “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 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.

Cllr Richard Jackson (Con), chairman of the county council’s finance committee, says the authority is yet to receive confirmation on the final settlement grant from Whitehall.

He was unable to confirm whether the tax will rise but said the budget-setting process will consider “a range of factors”.

The final budget containing any tax rises will be reviewed by full council on February 24.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s precepts make up about 72 per cent of council tax bills across the county.