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Torridge votes for council tax rise to bridge funding gap

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

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TORRIDGE residents may face an increase in council tax for the first time in four years, as Torridge District Council considers a 1.95% rise.

The council's community and resources committee met on Wednesday to discuss fees and charges for 2014/15, as well as a 1.95% increase in council tax, which would equate to an extra £2.79 per year, or 5p per week.

Torridge's council tax rate has been fixed for the last four years, but cuts to local government funding have left the council with a growing gap.

The council was also given the option to freeze the rate for a further year, and accept a government grant of £43,000 to help plug a forecasted £450,000 funding gap.

But council leader Philip Collins said accepting the grant could lead to a worse financial situation in future years.

He said: "Every year we don't put council tax up we will be playing catch up, and the fact that we haven't put it up for four years is relatively unusual for a council as strapped for cash as we are."

However, councillor Robert Hicks said he thought it would be wrong to take money from people in the area, who earn one of the UK's lowest average wages, rather than bring extra funding into the area from the grant.

As well as council tax, increases to some fees and charges were discussed, including all day parking in Northam Burrows car park, which is poised to rise by 50p, licensing for ear piercing and tattooists by £4.50, and the increase in burial charges by £17.

Mr Hicks added: "Let's not run away with the idea that it will not only be a 1.9% rise in tax, there will also be an increase in fees and services which many people rely on."

But councillor David Hurley said if tax wasn't raised in small doses, people would face a larger increase in the future which would be met with a far greater outcry.

Councillors voted in favour of the 1.95% rise, five votes to four. The draft will now go to overview and scrutiny before coming before full council for final approval in February.

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  • nickthompson  |  December 26 2013, 10:17AM

    "Torridge's council tax rate has been fixed for the last four years, but cuts to local government funding from central government have left the council with a growing gap"-------------------------------------------------Meanwhile George Osborne is poised to approve a £1billion increase in foreign aid--------------------No wonder they cut our Council grant, they must get this extra cash from somewhere, so lets pay up !!

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