Blackpool Council is continuing to invest in the future of the town despite further government cuts, councillors were told as they met last night to set the budget for the coming financial year.
Full council tax figures here
At a meeting of the full council, Labour’s ruling majority voted for an increase in council tax of 5.99 per cent, including a three per cent precept for adult social care.
It means a charge of £1,756 for an average band D property in 2018/19
Savings of £5.5m have been made with a revenue budget of £124.3m agreed for the coming year.
Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said “prudent financial management” and “carefully targeted investments” meant the council was able to continue with large-scale projects such as the extension of the tramway, building of a new conference centre and construction of hundreds of affordable homes.
The council has also been “incredibly successful” in working in partnership with other organisations ranging from the NHS to government ministers and the private sector, he said.
This would help to bring in income such as the annual revenue from the tramway which now stands at £1m.
Coun Blackburn said when Labour came to power in Blackpool seven years ago “we knew then and know now that investment was and is the key to digging Blackpool out of the hole into which it had sunk under the Conservatives.”
But Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group which voted against the budget, asked: “After all the wonderful things you have done, why is Blackpool the 10th worst place to live in the UK?”
He said it was crucial the council could raise more of its own revenue in future.
But he warned: “It needs to work towards a position of self sufficiency.
“Yet this council continues to invest in commercial property-based businesses which due to their constantly changing value are the riskiest businesses of all.”
Coun Williams said the Conservatives would reduce or “remove completely where possible” town centre parking charges in order to boost trade.
He said: “Any shortfall in parking revenue would be made up from improved collection rates for the council tax and business rates.”