Council finances never more perilous says district councillor - The Stratford Observer

Council finances never more perilous says district councillor

Stratford Editorial 1st Mar, 2024   0

LOCAL government finance has never been in a more perilous state says Stratford District Council’s finance spokesman.

SDC resources spokesperson Coun David Curtis was speaking after the authority agreed to raise the district element of the council tax bill by 3.1 per cent – an average of £5 a year – while also pledging to support those most in need.

SDC’s precept pays for a wide range of services including recycling and waste collection, planning, street cleaning, housing, housing benefits, leisure services and children’s play areas.

But Warwickshire County Council, which accounts for the lion’s share of the total council tax bill, has already agreed a 4.99 per cent hike, meaning residents face another major hike while still in the grip of the cost of living crisis.

Coun Curtis assured the funds the authority was collecting from residents were there to work for them and to ensure the council was fit for the future.

He continued: “Local government finance has never been in a more perilous state. Thirteen years of central government cuts and under investment in public services and catastrophic economic policies together with the aftermath of Brexit and the wars in Europe and the Middle East make it exceptionally difficult to plan long-term. So a level of prudence is required.

“At the same time the funds we hold on behalf of residents are there to work for them, providing the services they urgently need and value. Taking into account the requirement to protect them from future volatility, we should not be leaving more than necessary in the bank, when residents are facing the pressures they do.

“We also need to maintain and improve our infrastructure and ensure we adopt sustainable and cost-effective solutions that fit us for the future.

“Our budget supports the most vulnerable in our community, it introduces measures to adapt to and to mitigate climate change and actively works to safeguard services against future financial pressures.”

SDC remains a low-taxing authority. It was the 18th lowest out of 164 district councils across the country in 2023/24.

Anyone who thinks they could struggle to pay their council tax is encouraged to contact SDC as soon as possible by calling 01789 260990 or emailing [email protected]


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