Today’s council cabinet was chaired by the new leader, Malcolm Pate for the first time. One of the most important items it considered is whether to raise council tax.
For years council tax in Shropshire has been frozen while central government funding has been harshly cut back. Now the writing is truly on the wall. In 2016/17, the council faces a funding gap of £18m (PDF). The accumulated funding gap over the next five years is projected to be £60m.
That means eye-watering cuts to even the most essential of services. The question is whether the council should ease the scale of cutbacks by raising local taxes.
Today’s cabinet meeting agreed:
1) To introduce the government’s new 2% precept for Adult Social Care. This will raise £2.4 million a year ring-fenced for social care in Shropshire.
2) To increase council tax by 1.99%. This is the maximum allowed under government rules without holding a countywide referendum.
Both increases will apply from 1 April 2016 if they are approved by full council next February.
So what do you think?