Posted: 13.01.21 at 11:50 by Deborah Price
HERTFORDSHIRE County Council has drawn up plans to increase their element of the council tax by 3.99 per cent in 2021/2 – including a two per cent increase for adult social care.
According to the budget plans, published by the county council this week, the general council tax levy would increase by 1.99 per cent – which is the maximum allowed without a referendum.
And the county council would also opt to include a further two per cent levy – that would be ring-fenced for adult social care.
That means that for those in a Band D property, the county council element of the council tax bill would increase by £56, to £1470.62.
Councils have been given the option to charge up to three per cent for adult social care this year.
But the council’s proposals limit this to two per cent this year (2021/2) – with the remaining one per cent collected next year (2022/3) instead.
According to the budget document, the additional funding would be used to extend care worker pay increases, to support the voluntary sector in their Covid recovery work, to fund the Domestic Violence service and the transformation of disability services.
And the deferred approach – collecting just two per cent this year – has been drawn up to minimise the council tax burden for residents, whilst still enabling investment in critical services.
Executive member for resources and performance councillor Ralph Sangster says it’s designed to acknowledge the pressures families may be under and as a ‘meeting half-way’.
“It recognises there are difficulties for families in meeting their expenses this year – but knowing we need to continue to provide the services that the residents of Hertfordshire want,” says Sangster.
Meanwhile the budget proposals also include provision for a significant drop in the amount of council tax collected, in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
Usually finance chiefs count on a one per cent rise in the amount of council tax collected – reflecting additional homes on the county.
But this year they say mounting job losses and claims for council tax support, means there has been a one per cent reduction.
So that means the council is looking at a reduction of up to £13m in council tax – compared to where they had expected to be.
But council officials say the budget plans account for a ‘significant’ drop in council tax collection.
Councillor Sangster says they have a ‘reasonable expectation’ of where these balances are going to be. And he says they have made provision for those.
The proposed 3.99 per cent council tax increase will be considered by a meeting of the full council on February 23.