Council tax increase needed to 'continue to provide the services residents want'

The coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on the UK housing market. Picture: Getty Images/

The proposed 3.99 per cent council tax increase will be considered by a meeting of the full council on February 23 - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Plans have been drawn up to increase Herts County Council's element of the council tax by 3.99 per cent in 2021/2 – including a two per cent increase for adult social care.

According to the budget plans published by the county council this week, the general council tax levy would increase by 1.99 per cent – the maximum allowed without a referendum.

The county council would also opt to include a further two per cent levy – that would be ring-fenced for adult social care.

The increase means that for those in a Band D property, the county council element of the council tax bill would increase by £56, to £1,470.62.

Councils have been given the option to charge up to three per cent for adult social care this year.

The council’s proposals limit this to two per cent this year (2021/2) – with the remaining one per cent collected next year (2022/3).

The additional funding would be used to extend care worker pay increases, support the voluntary sector in their COVID recovery work, fund the domestic violence service and the transformation of disability services.

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The deferred approach has been drawn up to minimise the council tax burden for residents, whilst still enabling investment in critical services.

Executive member for resources and performance Cllr Ralph Sangster said: “It recognises there are difficulties for families in meeting their expenses this year – but knowing we need to continue to provide the services that the residents of Hertfordshire want."

The budget proposals also include provision for a significant drop in the amount of council tax collected, in the wake of the pandemic.

Usually finance chiefs count on a one per cent rise in the amount of council tax collected.

This year they say mounting job losses and claims for council tax support means there has been a one per cent reduction, meaning the council is looking at a reduction of up to £13m in council tax.

Council officials say the budget plans account for a "significant" drop in council tax collection, with Cllr Sangster citing a "reasonable expectation" of where these balances are going to be. 

The proposed 3.99 per cent council tax increase will be considered by a meeting of the full council on February 23.