Local residents will now be receiving their council tax bills for the upcoming 2018/2019 financial year. I am sure many of you have noticed it has increased significantly compared to last year. At Bury’s Budget Council Meeting the proposals from the majority Labour Group were voted through. This is a Council Tax rise of 5.94% from 1 April 2018. The actual rise for residents will be about 6.35% when you add in the Council Tax charges from the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
Your Liberal Democrat Councillors voted AGAINST this budget. This is a rise of over 17% in three years which we were not prepared to accept.
The increase is made up of a basic increase of 2.94%, plus a further 3% ‘social care levy’. This is the maximum increased any Council is allowed by Government without a referendum.
When the increases from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s areas of responsibility, including a new ‘Mayoral Precept’ that we all have to pay, the increase is around 6.35%. The Council Tax rates from 1 April 2018 are below.
The budget included very significant cuts to services – £32 million over three years – but with precious little actual detail on what these might mean. The Government continues to make life very difficult for local councils, with huge cuts in funding every year, but we feel that the Council should be more up front with residents about what savings are required and what choices need to be made.
What did Liberal Democrat councillors do?
The Liberal Democrat Group voted against the budget. Although we recognise that so much money has to be saved we felt that we couldn’t vote for £32 million of cuts when we didn’t know what they would mean to ordinary people and we couldn’t support such a huge increase in Council Tax.
We did propose changes to the budget:
– More money to tackle litter and dog fouling with more bins for streets and parks.
– £10 million pounds to fix potholes and roads, over three years, so desperately needed. This would be funded by cheap borrowing that Councils have access to, paid for by a reduction in the compensation claims that the Council current spends millions on.
Our proposals to fix roads and invest in Unsworth and Bury were defeated with every single Labour and Conservative Councillor voting against.
Hope this information is useful. Your comments and views are always welcome and appreciated.
Council Tax for 2018/19 is: (current year in brackets)
Band A – £1,165.91 (£1,096.26)
Band B – £1,360.24 (£1,278.98)
Band C – £1,554.55 (£1,461.69)
Band D – £1,748.89 (£1,644.41)
Band E – £2,137.52 (£2,009.83)
Band F – £2,526.16 (£2,375.26)
Band G – £2,914.80 (£2,740.67)
Band H – £3,497.76 (£3,288.81)