Ashfield Independents warn of big council tax rises for Hucknall residents hidden in Budget small print

A Hucknall councillor says the poor will be hit hardest yet again if projected council tax rises in last week’s Budget go ahead.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 1:32 pm

Coun Lee Waters (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall South at County Hall, said council tax had ‘gone through the roof’ and warned that behind the headlines, ‘hidden in the back of the Budget book was the projection that it would rise year on year’.

According to analysis by the Independent Alliance at County Hall, council tax is set to go up to close to £2,800 a year in Ashfield and across Nottinghamshire by 2026-27.

Households in Band D properties in districts like Ashfield face paying an extra £692.50 a year – almost 10 per cent of the average annual net income for the district.

Hucknall councillor Lee Waters says the poor will be hit by projected council tax rises

They currently pay £2098.52 a year, according to the Government’s own estimates, but this will rise to £2,791.02 a year by 2026.

The Office for Budget Responsibility added that it expected council tax receipts to be £12.1 billion higher in 2026-27 than 2021.

This means that many residents will pay nearly three times as much council tax than they pay for gas and electricity.

According to energy market regulator Ofgem, the average dual fuel variable tariff as of April 2021 is £95 per month, or £1,138 a year.

Coun Waters said: “Council tax has gone through the roof and the autumn budget plans show that this will get immeasurably worse.

"The (county) council is close to £600 million in debt, yet has just committed to spending more than £20million on buildings it doesn’t need and has spent more than £22 million buying land around Toton Station in preparation for HS2, that looks like it won’t arrive.

“How can it be right that within five years, residents will be forced to pay three times the cost of gas and electricity?

"The Government announced its spending plans with great gusto – but the devil is always in the detail.

"Hidden in the back of the Budget books was the projection that council tax will rise year on year.

With the cost of living the highest for generations, fuel and food prices rocketing and benefits being slashed – the very poorest will be hit again and again.”

The Chancellor also said councils were to receive an increase in grant funding worth £4.8 billion over the next three years.

Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), Ashfield District Council leader, said: “I welcome the fact that the Government is increasing funding for local government.

"But after 11 years of cuts to councils like Ashfield and Nottinghamshire, it will still leave spending dramatically lower than 2010.

“Ashfield, for example, has lost more than £50 million in Government funding since 2010, but this is a move in the right direction.

"However, you can’t over turn over a decade of austerity by increasing spending by less than inflation.

"The Government expects councils like ours to raise council tax by the maximum amount of three per cent, plus charge residents up to two per cent a year extra for social care.

"It said receipts will be £12.1 billion higher in 2026-27 than now.

"This is equivalent to around £435 extra per household.

Our residents will be dragged into poverty to pay for a service many say is not fit for purpose.”