Herefordshire can once again expect a full 5 per cent rise in council tax from April, as the county attempts to close a growing budget deficit.
Under plans due to be backed by Herefordshire Council’s cabinet next Thursday, the maximum 4.99 per cent increase permitted by the government will be added to residents’ council tax bills for 2024/25.
This is expected to bring in £135 million, or nearly two-thirds of the proposed £205 million county budget, up six per cent on the current year.
It consists of two separate rises, of 2.99 per cent in “core” council tax and a further 2 per cent for adult social care, which is reckoned separately.
Additional increases to cover emergency services in the county have yet to be announced.
This means a typical band D property in the county will pay £1,875.76 next year, an increase of £7.43 a month.
But the plan will still have to be approved by a full meeting of councillors next February, among whom the Conservatives form only a minority.
Council leader Coun Jonathan Lester warned: “The council is still facing significant inflationary pressures and if council tax rises by 4.99 per cent this is still well below the rate of inflation we’re seeing across the council’s contracts, and so only goes some way towards balancing the budget.”
He added: “We will need to transform how services are delivered and review the organisation’s size and structure to reduce costs, along with looking at opportunities to maximise income.”
The council proposing arrange of savings totalling £19.5 million for the year ahead, and is currently seeking residents’ views on where council spending should be prioritised and where it could generate more income.
The Conservatives opposed the current financial year’s 5 per cent council tax rise when it was passed earlier this year under the previous Independents for Herefordshire/Green coalition.
Coun Lester said at the time: “People’s council tax is already very high, and by raising it yet again, in the face of skyrocketing inflation and fuel bills, is something we struggle to support.”
The Conservatives also opposed a 3 per cent rise in the previous year’s council tax.