Council tax to rise by almost five per cent in Lancaster district

Lancaster Town Hall.
Lancaster Town Hall.
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Council tax is set to increase by almost five per cent in the Lancaster district to £1,844 per year for an average Band D property.

The average property will pay an extra £84 a year, when increases from Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire Fire Authority and Lancashire Police and Crime have been factored in.

This is made up of an extra £51.67 for Lancashire County Council (a 3.99 per cent increase), £24 for Lancashire Police and Crime (a 13.52 per cent increase), £2.02 for Lancashire Fire Authority (a 2.99 per cent increase), and £6.59 for Lancaster City Council (a 2.99 per cent increase).

This amounts to an increase of 4.79 per cent, excluding Parish precepts.

Lancaster City Council said that its portion of council tax will help offset government funding cuts.

It said the increase would “help tackle inequality, protect services and fund ambitious plans for the future”.

The council said that more than £7m has been wiped from its budget since 2010.

Coun Anne Whitehead, cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “The council’s budget has fallen by some £7m over the last nine years and at the same time the cost of providing services has increased. With that in mind a modest increase in Council Tax is necessary to deliver a balanced budget, maintain service levels, and ensure that we continue to invest in the future of our wonderful district.

“I’m proud that we have not had to resort to making the major reductions to services that so many other councils have had to do, while also freezing car parking and green waste collection charges.

“We have also maintained the support we provide to vulnerable and low income households through our Council Tax support scheme.

“The Lancaster district has huge potential and ambitious plans such as those for the Eden Project and the Canal Quarter all need investment if they are to be realised.

“Our budget proposals include items that will boost our economy while protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.”

The proposals, which were approved on Wednesday February 27, include:

• A public health project coordinator to co-ordinate the council’s approach to tackling food and fuel poverty

• Funding for economic growth initiatives including business and skills support, marketing to raise the profile of the district as a place for business and investment, to study, live and visit, and supporting local wealthbuilding to ensure spending stays in the district

• Extend funding for CCTV and the anti-social behaviour team

• Further development of the mini-zoo area in Williamson Park to improve the standards of the attraction and increase visitors

While as the billing authority Lancaster City Council collects Council Tax, it only receives around 13 per cent of the total bill to spend on its services.

Excluding parishes, of the remaining bill, the majority goes to Lancashire County Council (73 per cent), Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner(10 per cent) and Lancashire Combined Fire Authority (four per cent) making up the rest.