Two per cent hike in council tax bills

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Senior councillors in North Yorkshire yesterday agreed a two per cent increase in council tax bills, which will mean those living in a band D property will pay around another £21 a year.

Members of North Yorkshire County Council yesterday agreed a budget that will lead to radical changes in services in order to bring about “unprecedented” levels of savings.

However councillors also voted against awarding themselves an increase in their allowances. The council’s independent panel on members’ remunerations had recommended a 1 per cent increase.

However, at its quarterly meeting yesterday, the council supported an amendment from the council’s leader, Coun John Weighell, proposing there should be no increase in allowances.

“At a time when the authority is being forced to make significant savings across the board – some of which will inevitably impact on front-line services – it would be wholly inappropriate for us to award ourselves an increase,” he said.

Members of the council agreed to a recommendation from its executive committee for a 1.99 per cent increase.

Since 2011, the county council has implemented and made plans for total cuts in its spending of around £170m. A programme of savings totalling £94m is already in train, including cuts of approximately £20m which take effect in the 12 months beginning this April.

The savings represent a reduction in the county council’s spending power of approximately 34 per cent.

Budget recommendations approved yesterday will result in some front line services receiving less money. As a result some libraries and children’s centres are likely to close.

While the budget could also see some household waste recycling centres could be axed.