Council tax set to go up by 4.7 per cent, Borough Hall confirm

Bedford Borough Council has confirmed it plans to increase council tax by 1.7 per cent with an additional 3 per cent as a social care levy.

The suggested rise is part of the 2017/18 budget proposals which will go to the council’s executive next week (January 18).

This will include an additional £2.7million for social care, despite a reduction in main government grant funding of nearly £7million, as reported by the T&C last month.

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The plan also includes a number of solutions to cut council spending in response to the funding shortage, while minimising the impact on services where possible.

Councillor Michael Headley, finance portfolio holder, said: “The government has failed to tackle the social care funding crisis, and is instead pushing the problem on to council taxpayers through higher bills.

“In the face of punishing government cuts, our budget plans include reductions in council spending while ensuring the most vulnerable have the support they need.”

The council’s website states: “The simple fact is that the reduction in funding from central government means we are no longer able to do everything we would like to.

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“In 2015 the grant we received from central government was £30.1million.

“This is falling to £5.8million by 2019, it is falling by £6.8million next year alone.

“Recently the government reduced our funding for next year by an additional £700,000 over and above their original plans.

“At the same time, the government has said that in order to help fund the growing care needs, councils can levy a further 6 per cent council tax increase over two or three years, on top of the up to 1.99 per cent we can otherwise increase tax by.

“We do not believe this is a proper solution to meet the needs of our growing older population but rather a ‘sticking plaster’ over a lack of ongoing funding for social care.”