Hertfordshire County Council tax set to rise after six-year freeze

Hertfordshire County Council

Hertfordshire County Council - Credit: Archant

A leading County Hall figure has said the authority’s decision to increase council tax for the first time in six years has been made to protect frontline services.

Hertfordshire County Council’s proportion of the bill will rise by 1.99 per cent from April, costing the average Band D taxpayer roughly 43p per week. That’s the equivalent of £22.26 per year, from £1,118 to £1,141.

The county council said Tuesday’s decision was made due to the authority facing ‘huge financial pressures’.

These pressures include a growing population – which means a greater number of older people requiring care and more children in need of school places – and a reduced grant from central government.

Councillor Derrick Ashley, responsible for resources, said: “We haven’t asked residents to pay a penny more council tax since 2009 because we know that many have struggled following the recession.

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“However, with the economy showing signs of sustained recovery, we believe it’s time to ask for a modest increase in the amount residents pay to help prepare for the looming gap in funding we face over the next few years.”

The county council provide services such as social care, education, fire and rescue and maintenance of the county’s 3,000 miles of road.

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The council said the increase in council tax for 2015/2016 will also help reduce the budget deficit.

Due to the freeze over the last six years, the council has found other ways to save money.

Staff numbers were reduced, better value contracts were negotiated, and services provided with other public sector organisations were streamlined to avoid duplication.

Mr Ashley added: “Increasing pressures on our essential statutory services mean we must act to protect them.”

The rise follows an announcement by North Herts District Council that it will be increasing its precept by 1.9 per cent in the coming financial year in a bid to address a 6.7 per cent cut in government funding.

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