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Council’s tax rise in ‘difficult times’
11:00am Monday 25th February 2013 in News
COUNCIL tax is being increased in Malvern – with the town’s householders the only ones in south Worcestershire to be slapped with a hike.
The district council has agreed to rise its portion of the bill by 1.99 per cent, adding £2.65 a year to the overall charge.
The move means the average band D demand will be £1,482 in Malvern from April, when the updated rates kick in.
It comes despite town halls in Worcester and Wychavon freezing rates this week, while Worcestershire County Council, which controls about 72 per cent of the bill, has also refused to an increase.
Councillor Paul Cumming, portfolio holder for finance in Malvern said the district’s rise was a “balancing figure”
reflecting the pressures on both residents’ and the council’s finances.
“I personally would have preferred to see no increase because times are very difficult for our residents generally,” he said.
“But we have to be very aware of what is coming in the next two years and not taking some money now could make those problems worse.
“I think the two per cent is a balancing figure.”
Agreeing a net budget requirement of just over £9 million, councillors also agreed to inject £500,000 into a new earmarked reserve to boost economic development.
Coun Cumming said he expected this to pay off financially for the council by providing an economic spin off for the district as well as boosting business rates take.
The council’s executive committee will be able to approve spending from the fund up to a cap of £50,000, with larger amounts requiring the backing of full council.
The cap was to be set at £100,000 before opposition leader Tom Wells successfully called for an amendment.
A rise of 1.99 per cent is the maximum any town hall can levy without resorting to a referendum first.
At Worcestershire County Council, the opposition Labour group called for the same rise, but it was rejected by the controlling Conservative party.
The district council is responsible for setting nine per cent of the bill.