South Northamptonshire residents set for £5 council tax increase for 2020/21
South Northamptonshire residents are set to pay an extra £5 in council tax this year with the district council set to agree its last ever budget.
Residents of an average band D property will see their bill to South Northamptonshire Council rise slightly by 2.6 per cent from £191.33 a year to £196.33.
It is the maximum the council can raise the figure by, as anything over two per cent or £5 would need to be put to a public referendum. The increase will net the council an extra £400,000 – a sizeable amount of its overall budget of £15.95 million.
Members of the council’s cabinet agreed to the draft 2020/21 budget on Monday (February 10) but it still requires the approval of the full council when it meets later this month.
The budget is set to be the last in the council’s history, as it will be abolished to make way for a new West Northamptonshire Council that will see services merged in South Northants, Daventry and Northampton. Another unitary will be formed for the north of the county.
Speaking at cabinet, finance portfolio holder Councillor Peter Rawlinson said: “We have balanced our budget and it’s usually at this point where we say that we’ve done this despite the cuts in funding from the government. But this year the settlement didn’t provide many surprises. We have a budget that is prudent, we are not being reckless or leaving the cupboard bare for the new unitaries.”
The legislation to form the new unitary councils – known as a structural change order – was passed in the House of Commons yesterday and is due to be debated in the House of Lords this afternoon. Should it pass, which seems certain, it will see the councils launch on April 1 next year with elections taking place for them in three months’ time in May.
As part of its final budget, South Northamptonshire Council will also agree to release a further £1.9 million sum to help fund the reorganisation, on top of £500,000 that it already agreed to in August 2018.
The proposals also see a minimum level of general fund reserves set at £1 million.
A two week consultation on the draft budget begins today and concludes a day before it will be decided at a full council meeting on February 26.
Council leader Ian McCord said: “I’m very happy with where we are and it’s quite amazing to see the good foundations we are putting in place for the new unitaries. We are not blowing away our reserves and being reckless. What we are trying to do is leave a good legacy but do it in a sensible way, as people would expect from us. It’s a budget which we should all be proud of.”