Council tax to rise 3.99 per cent

March 24 2020

COUNCIL tax bills in Kingswood will rise by nearly four per cent in April.

South Gloucestershire Council approved a 3.99 per cent rise at a full council meeting at Kingswood Civic Centre on February 12.

It means that someone living in a Band D property  will pay £1,543.37 for council services in 2020/21, up £59.22 from £1,484.15.

The bill for policing services will rise by £10 per Band D household, from £217.81 to £227.81 – a rise of 4.59 per cent - while Avon Fire Authority has increased its precept by 1.99 per cent  to £74.94 for Band D tax payers.

Bills vary according to the size of property a resident lives in, from Band A at the lowest to Band H.

South Gloucestershire Council will spend almost £232 million on services next year, which will feature initiatives to protect the environment and help local high streets.

The rise will include a two per cent precept to be spent on meeting the growing cost of adult social care services.

A further £145 million will be spent on infrastructure such as roads and building projects, including £27.6 million on schools.

Overall, schools funding for South Gloucestershire will increase by £11.371 million compared to last year with spending increases to support children with special education needs and disabilities.

The council has pledged to deliver at least the minimum per pupil funding of £3,750 for primary and £5,000 for secondary school pupils.

Spending plans include initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of council services, including an initial £1.7 million investment to directly respond to the climate emergency with a further £6 million over four years to support various green projects affecting schools, communities and transport.

In addition to the £100,000 carried over from last year, there will be £300,000 to support projects to reinvigorate high streets.

A total of £30,000 will be available in grants for community groups wishing to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day this year and £130,000 will be set aside to enforce anti-littering laws.

As well as spending on services and day-to-day operations the council plans £145m in capital spending on roads and building projects, while a further £219m will be spent on council-run schools, up by £11.4m.

Council leader Toby Savage said the budget would deliver “the best possible value for money, while also taking action to respond to the climate emergency and improve our local environment”.

He added: “We have been able to increase spending in some key areas this year, including on schools.”

Labour group leader Pat Rooney said accused the council of failing residents in three key areas: schools, metrobus, and the Joint Spatial Plan.

She said: “The Conservatives have been in control of South Glos for the past 10 years and our secondary schools are still at the bottom of the national league tables.”

Liberal Democrat leader Claire Young said two amendments to the budget, over protecting “environmentally valuable land” from sale and supporting men and LGBT victims of domestic abuse had been accepted by the ruling Conservatives.

But she added: “We are disappointed that the Conservatives declined to accept our perfectly reasonable amendment that ... the council should write to the Government asking for local government funding to be put on a sustainable long-term footing.”