Four per cent rise in Sheffield Council tax is approved

Sheffield Town Hall

Sheffield Town Hall

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People in Sheffield will pay almost four per cent more on their tax bills – which councillors put down to government funding cuts.

Sheffield councillors voted to increase council tax by 3.99 per cent, made up of a 1.99 per cent increase on the tax rate and a two per cent precept to fund adult social care.

Money raised from the precept can only be spent on adult social care.

The increase, approved at a meeting of Sheffield Council at the Town Hall on Friday, will mean an extra 66p per week for people in the cheapest council tax bracket.

The move comes after the authority was told it would have to find £50million in savings, resulting in up to 400 job losses.

As part of an amendment to the proposals suggested by the Labour group at the meeting, a new Living Wage relief rate to help employers pay their staff more will be introduced.

Also included in the amendment was a plan to bring empty shops back into use.

A Liberal Democrats proposal that would have kept the tax increase to just two per cent was rejected by councillors.

UKIP councillor for Penistone and Stocksbridge, Coun Jack Clarkson, said his party was the ‘stone in Labour’s shoe’. But a UKIP proposal to cut council salaries over £100,000, cut councillors’ basic allowance by five per cent and impose a 10 per cent cut in extra allowances for special responsibilities such as chairing committees was defeated.

A Green Party proposal to install solar panels on council houses as part of the party’s environmental focus was also rejected at the meeting.

A long debate which took in subjects as diverse as the EU, Syria, the World Student Games and ‘the failures of past governments’, eventually ended with a vote in favour of the 3.99 per cent council tax increase.

Council leader Julie Dore said: “The amount of government money we get, and this is money that we are entitled to, has been cut yet again while demand for some of our most vital services continues to grow.”

Coun Dore said frontline services had previously been protected, but the authority had now reached a point where cuts to these services were inevitable.

She added: “It’s a constant battle but one that we, a Labour administration, will continue to fight.

“We will always stand up for Sheffield.”

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