Fylde coast residents are facing another hike in their council tax bills as all three local authorities propose to increase charges for the next financial year.
When bills start dropping through their doors in April, people in Blackpool face a 5.99 per cent increase which includes a three per cent precept to pay for adult social care.
This means the average band D charge for council services will go up to £1,511, compared to £1,425 for the current year. But the final bill will be higher once precepts to pay for police and fire services are known.
The rises are in line with most local authorities in the country, which are increasing bills by the amount allowed by the Government.
Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool’s Labour-run council, said the Government had “refused to fund the national crisis in Adult Social Services”, forcing councils to increase the financial burden on council tax payers.
He said: “Ninety five per cent of councils are raising council tax this year.
“The vast majority of unitary councils like Blackpool are raising it by the amount assumed by the Government, in their spending power assessments , 2.99 per cent this year rather, than 1.99 per cent in previous years.
“The Government has also refused to fund the national crisis in Adult Social Services, instead allowing councils to raise tax by a further three per cent, in an attempt to avert the NHS crisis in A&E departments - bringing us to a total of 5.99 per cent.”
He added between 2011 and 2015 Blackpool had frozen its council tax in line with directives from the then Coalition Government.
Coun Blackburn said: “Since 2015, the Conservative Government has assumed councils will put council tax up by the maximum the law allows (5.99 per cent this year), and have funded councils accordingly.
“It is regrettable the Government is effectively forcing councils to raise tax whilst they simultaneously cut Government funding.
“I am lobbying the Government to ensure the current Fair Funding Review takes account of this issue, and that the NHS, Adult and Children’s Social Services are properly funded by Government in London, rather than trying to squeeze even more money out of hard stretched Blackpool families.”
Blackpool has had to find savings of £5.5m from its budget this year.
Residents will see increases in some fees and charges to generate an extra £900,000.
Children’s Services is also under pressure with a forecast overspend of £2.9m for this financial year.
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, warned: “I’m afraid it’s a case of pay more and get less as this above inflation council tax rise hits the residents of Blackpool.
“We can probably also expect to see higher charges for green waste bins, car parking, leisure services etc, and some council front line services could be scrapped altogether.
“As a unitary Blackpool is well placed to control and manage its own businesses and finances but, in the past, it’s been Labour councils who have imposed the highest council tax rises in the town even when austerity cuts were not in place.
“This council are spending millions of pounds on developments in Blackpool based on their own agenda.”
He added: “If we were in power we would deliver more commercial business directly into the council to bridge shortfalls.
“We would also build robust stronger partnerships with our two neighbouring councils to jointly deliver more cost effective front line and administration services.
“This would drive existing costs down and leave capacity to make improvements to the residential parts of the town while keeping council tax rises to the minimum.”
Lancashire County Council has already agreed a 5.99 per cent increase in its council tax meaning a basic Band D payer will be charged £1,294 on top of the increases set to be imposed by district authorities including Fylde and Wyre.
Fylde Council is proposing a 2.99 per cent increase in its portion of council tax for the coming financial year – and is inviting the public to have their say ahead of the matter being debated.
The proposals for the 2018/19 budget have been published for consultation, and feedback received before Tuesday will be considered at the budget-setting Council meeting on Monday, March 5.
The proposal for 2018-19 follows a 4.99 per cent increase for the current financial year and would mean an increase in council tax of around 11p a week for a Band D property to £201.61 for the year.
Councillors say the increase would help safeguard services and ensure Fylde continued to be ‘a vibrant and thriving place to live’.
Along with continuing enhancements to various areas of the borough, items to be budgeted for over the next financial year include enhanced play facilities at Chain Lane Playing Fields, Staining, and continued funding for the Community Projects Fund, which provides grants of between £1-£300 to local groups.
Coun Karen Buckley, chair of Fylde Council’s finance and democracy committee, said: “Throughout the last few years Fylde has been implementing plans to reduce spending, deal with falling levels of income, particularly from central government, and rising costs.
“The budget growth items proposed for this year will continue to enhance the Fylde community, and we encourage residents to have their say on the current proposals.”
Details of the budget proposals are at www.fylde.gov.uk/council/finance/medium-term-financial-strategy-mtfs.
Residents in Wyre face a 2.99 per cent increase in their borough council tax from April.
The planned hike was agreed at a cabinet meeting at the Civic Centre in Poulton yesterday.
Those paying the band D tariff, whose bills were £188.31 in 2017/18, will next year pay £193.94 – an increase of £5.63, a report by the council’s head of finance Clare James showed.
The report said there is an annual shortfall in income of £568,749 – with the government not providing ‘any support to freeze council tax in 2018/19’.
The budget will go before a full council meeting on Thursday, March 8, for final approval.