Council tax to rise by 2.99 per cent in Barnsley

Barnsley councillors have agreed a budget that will see council tax rise by 2.99 per cent – or an extra £46.24 a year for a Band D property.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 4:45 pm

The increase, which will begin at the start of April, is made up of a 1.4 per cent hike in the adult and social care precept over two years, and a 1.5 per cent rise in core council tax.

The annual bill for a typical Band D property will now be £1875.15, including the adult social care precept of £158.26, and a police and fire precept.

The council’s ruling Labour group said the raise was necessary to help cover the costs of looking after the elderly and vulnerable following the pandemic.

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Sir Steve Houghton

But opposition Lib Dem councillors submitted an amendment to the proposals, which included a 20mph speed limit on residential streets and outside schools, scrapping plans for the town centre youth zone, and providing 100 “snow wardens” with snow shovels, high viz jackets and one tonne of grit to keep roads clear during bad weather.

However, the amendments were voted down.

The budget includes extra cash for social care, Covid recovery, and funding to help make public buildings and council homes greener and more energy efficient.

Around £254M has also been set aside to fund schemes to help rough sleepers, and £670M to assist low-income households with theircouncil tax bills.

A pay freeze is also set for public sector workers earning more than £24,000 per year.

A report to the council states that from 2010 to 2020, Barnsley has been “one of the hardest hit” by government austerity, with its Revenue Support Grant falling by £95M – equivalent to a 58 per cent cash cut.

Council leader Sir Steve Houghton CBE told the meeting that producing a balanced budget was a “miracle”, adding: “we are in a good position to serve the people of Barnsley and keep them safe”.

Councillor Margaret Bruff added that the budget is “prudent”, and warned: “we are aware that there might be worse to come.

Councillor Robert Frost added that despite the council “losing £12m to Covid,” staff had worked hard to keep the increases to an absolute minimum.”

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