City to raise tax bills and cut services

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TAXPAYERS in Hull will see their bills rise by 1.95 per cent after a budget which will deliver wide-ranging cuts to services and 600 jobs axed.

Hundreds joined a union lobby outside the Guildhall, in Hull, where a budget-setting meeting set the tax, at just under the two per cent trigger for a referendum, which will mean a Band A property, the majority of households, seeing its £898 bill rise by £17.52.

A library, three customer care centres and some children’s centres, probably satellites based in schools, will close and homecare charges will increase. There will be a 10 per cent cut to the council’s in-house youth service and a 10 per cent reduction for voluntary sector commissioning.

Moves to cut free school transport for about 1,000 children have already caused a furore, although the council says 900 children from low-income families will remain exempted. It will also start charging for transport to day centres and lunches.

Deputy leader Coun Daren Hale said: “We are pleased our budget has been carried but it is not the budget we would have moved in Hull and that is the result of the 8p in the pound the Government has taken off us. It will lead to a significant change in service.”

Council leader Coun Steve Brady said the authority would work with trade unions over the next 15 to 18 months to ensure a phased reduction of early retirements and voluntary redundancies.