Waverley increases its share of council tax bill

Monday 28th February 2022 7:00 am
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Councillors agreed the borough council’s budget – and tax demands – after a gruelling four-hour full council meeting on Tuesday night ()

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RESIDENTS will pay an average of £5 more for Waverley Borough Council services this year.

Waverley’s 2022-23 budget was approved by councillors at Tuesday night’s full council meeting, with members voting to increase the local authority’s share of the council tax precept.

The budget includes a £5 per year increase in Waverley’s share of council tax for a Band D property, equivalent to a 2.6 per cent increase.

The budget sets out how, despite the pandemic’s continued impact on the council’s finances, it has balanced the books over the coming year, while maintaining services and its financial support of the voluntary sector at current levels.

Councillors recognised that rising household bills, inflation and the removal of the £20 Universal Credit uplift were all expected to have a significant impact on the lowest income households in the coming year, and agreed to extend the council’s discretionary council tax hardship fund, adding an additional contribution of £50,000 to the fund this year.

The council also agreed to continue the existing council tax support scheme at the current level.

Increases in fees and charges have been kept broadly below inflation, except in commercial areas such as planning pre-application services, where a new approach will see fees for developers increased, so they more closely reflect the actual costs to the council of providing the service.

Waverley Borough Council portfolio holder for finance, assets and commercial services, Councillor Mark Merryweather, said: “We know the council tax increases impact very heavily on low-income households and we are doing everything we can to support them via the council tax support scheme, discretionary housing payments and the council tax hardship fund.

“We have also moved to protect the total amount of the budget given to our partners in the volunteer sector and community organisations, at £0.8million, through our thriving communities fund.

“The fact we’ve been able to deliver a balanced budget, with no cuts to services, is in large part because of our business transformation and commercial programmes delivering cash savings ahead of target.

“Inflation adds around £900,000 to the cost of providing our services each year, while the council tax increase next year will bring in only an additional £277,000.

“In the longer term, our financial projections show our funding from government will continue to fall from around £3.6million in 2022-23, to almost nothing by 2025-26.

“While we will continue to look for ways to increase efficiencies and cut costs, such heavy cuts to our funding simply aren’t sustainable.

“The government’s fragmented and piecemeal approach to financing local councils has failed: it needs to level-up funding for local government and deliver a long-term settlement, so the vital services we provide to our communities can be invested in and protected for the future.”

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