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Council tax to rise by minimum of 3.99 per cent

Council tax will rise by a minimum of 3.99 per cent for people across Cumbria.

The county council said it had reluctantly gone ahead with the rise of its portion – which equates to £4.79 a month on a Band D property.

A full meeting of the county council has agreed that its portion of the tax will raise by 1.99 per cent, plus a two per cent precept for adult social care.

It takes the lion’s share of the council tax, with the rest made up from district and parish councils and the police and crime commissioner, which each set their own rises.

Cumbria County Council said it remained optimistic for the future and has continued to deliver its services despite a very challenging year.

At a full council meeting, members heard how the COVID-19 pandemic placed additional pressure on the council’s budget and on resources.

Members also agreed the council’s medium-term financial plan for 2021-2026.

Peter Thornton, deputy leader of Cumbria County Council, and portfolio holder with responsibility for finance said: “Cumbria County Council remains optimistic despite a very challenging year.

“We have a strong track record in protecting frontline services while delivering savings in response to reduced government funding.

“We have a legal requirement to present a balanced budget and protect services and to do this we have reluctantly taken the difficult decision to increase the county council’s share of council tax.

“We had previously planned a 1.99 per cent rise in council tax but the Chancellor’s spending review made it clear that our calculated spending power assumed an additional three per cent adult social care precept with the option to defer all or part of this to 2022/23.

“The budget proposal includes an increase in the Adult Social Care precept by two per cent in 2021/22 and one per cent in 2022/23.

“We, and our fellow councils of all political persuasions, agree that government cannot continue to see council tax rises as being the way to fund increasing social care needs.

“There are still significant pressures on the county council’s core budget.

“This increase will help raise £5 million to invest into essential council services for the most vulnerable and the people who need our support right now in addition to a further £5 million ring fenced to deliver social care.

“I want the public to know that the county council has worked very hard to keep this proposed increase as low as is possible, and it equates to £4.79 a month on a Band D property.

“The money generated will help us provide essential services to those who need them the most and it also ensures that we will deliver the legally balanced budget this year.”