WORCESTERSHIRE County Council will be charging almost five per cent more for the services it provides next year after announcing a rise in its council tax precept today (Tuesday).
It means those living in a Band D property will be forking out an extra £57-a-year on that part of their bill from 2018/19.
At a special draft budget briefing earlier the county council said the 4.94 per cent rise would enable it to focus on improving outcomes for children and young people, adult social care and making sure county roads and pavements were the best in the country.
The increase consists of three per cent towards the growing pressures for adult social care and the rest will provide investment for services which residents have told the council were most important to them, for example, road improvements.
Coun Simon Geraghty, the leader of Worcestershire County Council said despite the hike, ‘rates remained below average for county councils in England’.
He added: “Council tax, in my view, does need to go up to pay for those much-needed, demand-led services.
“We have traditionally been a low council tax authority.
“Among county councils without a fire service we are in the lowest 25 per cent, and we think we will remain below the average.”
Aiming for a ‘balanced budget’, an extra £10.5m is to be spent next year on the county’s most vulnerable children and young people, with an additional £7.2m into tackling the growing financial demands of an ageing population.
A total of £37.5m of capital investment will be made over the next three years into improving the county’s roads and pavements, reducing the risks of flooding and growing the local economy.
Coun Geraghty said: “These are challenging financial times but we are determined to live within our means and deliver a balanced budget for Worcestershire.
“Our proposals are aligned to the priorities we have set out in our plan fr the county: Shaping Worcestershire’s Future.
“Residents tell us that improving roads and pavements, cutting congestion, safeguarding children and protecting vulnerable adults are most important to them.
“By growing our income, by capitalising more of our existing expenditure and by making sure departments live within there means, we are able to invest into these areas.”
The draft budget will go to public consultation over December and January and then for the approval of councillors in the following months.