Council tax increase proposed by Northampton Borough Council amid financial pressures

Northampton Borough Council is set to increase its council tax by an average of £5 a year as it faces increasing cost pressures, it has been announced.

Wednesday, 7th December 2016, 8:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 2:08 pm
The Guildhall, Northampton

In a statement issued this morning, the council says it is anticipating an increase in costs when it renegotiates the current waste contract with Enterprise when it runs out in 2018.

But the draft budget proposals for 2017/18 also include about £14 million of investment in projects such as the St James Mill Link Road, the council says.

A spokesman for the council said core funding from central government was decreasing and the council needed to find more ways to generate income.

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"Pressures on the Council’s budget are also continuing to grow, with an uncertain economic situation nationally and increased demand for services locally," he said.

"In the coming year particularly, the borough council needs to negotiate a new environmental services contract by June 2018 and both cost increases and regulatory changes mean that this will likely be more expensive than the current waste contract.

"The borough council has set out an efficiency plan, which has been approved by the Government, to ensure that the budget can continue to be balanced over the next four years and to create revenue streams," the spokesman added.

The increase of £5 per year on a band D property is the maximum allowed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Councillor Brandon Eldred, cabinet member for finance at Northampton Borough Council, said: “Over the last few years we have carried out thorough reviews of the council’s services and management costs and have budgeted very prudently. That has protected our services from the need to make major savings but we do have to take into account major new areas of expenditure such as the waste contract renegotiation so after careful consideration, we are suggesting an increase in council tax.

“The proposed increase is less than 10p a week for band D households. We are proposing the increase because we need to make sure that we can continue to invest in the town’s infrastructure and core services to ensure that our economy continues to grow at the pace it has been doing in recent years.

“Our efficiency plan, which has been approved by the Government, should then help us deliver increased revenue in the future and enable us to cope with the squeeze in Government funding and enable us to continue to invest in better services and even further growth for Northampton.”

The borough council’s budget proposals for 2017/18 will be discussed by the cabinet at a meeting at the Guildhall on December 14 and a full public consultation will begin on December 15. The Chronicle & Echo will be looking at the budget proposals in detail and more will follow later.