Bristol

Bristol council tax to rise by 3.99% from April

Bristol City Council chambers
Image caption Bristol City Council voted through plans to increase council tax and rent for council house tenants

Council tax in Bristol is set to rise by 3.99% from April, with council tenants' rent due to increase by 2.7%.

The budget was agreed on Tuesday, but the Labour-run authority was criticised by opposition groups for failing to address the special educational needs (SEND) crisis.

Mayor Marvin Rees said the council's budget decisions were an "investment in hope in Bristol".

But critics said the £399m budget was "fundamentally flawed".

Extra SEND funding was announced in January and was initially set at £1.3m but has been amended to £500,000 every year until 2023.

It came after a poor Ofsted report about the council's performance in SEND education.

During the meeting, the council was also criticised for not doing enough for the environment, public transport, leisure and parks, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The Greens successfully tabled an amendment to spend £100,000 on retraining council employees to carry out low-carbon energy installation work and investigate introducing a workplace parking levy.

'Ambitious'

Liberal Democrat councillor Mark Wright said: "I don't think the poorest people should be paying for the new homes in Bristol. I can't support the budget."

Conservative Steve Jones accused Labour of disproportionately imposing a tax on the poorest in Bristol. 

Council tax will rise by £67.46 for an average band D property.

Neither the Tories' nor Lib Dems' budget amendments won support in the City Hall chamber.

The Labour group's amendment for council house rent increases will enable the council to borrow enough money to build 900 homes.

Mr Rees said his budget was "ambitious" in the face of severe government cuts and that 99.9% of it had been left untouched by the opposition groups' amendments.

"We remain the only core city that has been able to maintain so many of its public services," he said.

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