Most councils in Lincolnshire opt to raise council tax

Lincoln City Hall The City of Lincoln Council is one of five local authorities to raise council tax in Lincolnshire

Most taxpayers in Lincolnshire will have to pay more next year as more than half of councils increase tax.

The City of Lincoln Council is the fifth local authority in the county to raise council tax, agreeing to a 1.9% hike on Tuesday.

Meanwhile in Boston it was frozen but the opposition Labour group questioned a decision which could see an increase in allowances for some councillors.

Most councils in England have accepted an incentive not to increase rates.

Analysis

District and city councils take between 10 and 15% of annual council tax bills. So it's true that a rise of up to 4.5% only means a rise of around £5 in real terms.

But it's also true that councils have been offered a government grant in order to freeze their share of bills for another year. So why haven't they all taken it?

What isn't generally known is that those councils that have the lowest levies in the country have been given permission to raise bills by as much as £5 a year, without a local referendum. Three Lincolnshire councils fall into that bracket and it was, quite literally, an offer they couldn't refuse in the wake of huge spending cuts.

Others which have voted for smaller increases say it's the only way to continue to deliver services and protect jobs. They must hope that the public agrees.

The City of Lincoln Council approved its budget on Tuesday, which includes a rise in tax and a cut in services.

Meanwhile, North Kesteven District Council, West Lindsey District Council, East Lindsey District Council and South Kesteven District Council have all increased their precepts by as much as 4%, as has the newly-elected police and crime commissioner.

Boston Borough Council has frozen its council tax while South Holland District Council (SHDC) has cut it by 0.3%.

Nationally, 59% of councils have accepted the government's offer of a grant in return for a freeze in council tax, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

A row broke out at Boston's Monday night meeting when Labour questioned a potential rise in special responsibility allowances for some councillors and demanded council staff were paid the living wage.

The Conservative-led administration said most councillors worked almost full time for a part-time salary and staff were paid at least minimum wage.

Councillor Raymond Singleton-Maguire, portfolio holder for finance, said: "I think this is probably one of the toughest budgets I've ever known and we have delivered a very, very fair budget."

  • North Kesteven District Council: increased by 3.66% - an extra £5 a year for Band D properties
  • West Lindsey District Council: increased by 1.5% - an extra £2.79 per year for Band D
  • East Lindsey District Council: Increased 4.4% - an extra £5 a year for Band D
  • City of Lincoln Council: a 1.9% rise - an extra £4.71 for Band D but 80% of residents will only pay an extra £3
  • South Kesteven District Council: 3.84% rise - an extra £5 a year for Band D.
  • South Holland District Council: decrease of 0.3%, - 45p a year less for Band D.
  • Police and Crime Commissioner: an increase of 1.98% - an extra £3.69 a year for Band D
'Toughest cuts'

City of Lincoln Council leader Ric Metcalfe said: "We simply cannot continue to cut spending in the face of continued reduction in government funding and provide the people of Lincoln with the services they deserve."

Councillor Gary Porter, leader of the Conservative-controlled SHDC, which has cut council tax by 0.3% said: "We reduced it last year and we froze it the year before that.

"We have been able to do it largely because of the shared service arrangement we've got with neighbouring authorities."

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