Council tax rise for Bedford Borough not as bad as feared

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The voice of the public has persuaded the council to “take the middle line” and propose a total council tax increase of 3.75 per cent.

Last month it was feared bills would soar by almost five per cent due to growing demands on the borough’s social care and homelessness budget.

To ease this pressure, the council was considering a special social care precept of six per cent over two years – on top of the anticipated 1.75 per cent core rise.

Now, following public consultation, mayor Dave Hodgson is supporting a two per cent precept this year. This equates to £56.56 for the average Band D household.

Mr Hodgson said: “Like councils across the country we’re facing even further cuts in government funding for local services. We’ve also seen demand for services such as care for the elderly continue to grow. Despite this, we’re protecting services for local people and safeguarding the most vulnerable.”

The proposed budget was due to be debated by the Executive last night. Agenda papers highlight the increasing pressures on the £52.1 million social care budget.

Council officers say: “The council is continuing to see a rise in the number of people requiring care, the level of demand has increased both in terms of numbers of clients, complexity of packages, and the duration of care for adult social care clients is greater than in previous periods. In addition there has been a reduction in the amount clients are contributing towards their care.”