The price Sheffield residents will pay next year for council tax has been confirmed after the city’s budget was ratified.
It is rising 1.99 per cent – or about £29 extra a year for a Band D property.
When South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue precepts are added – which have also risen – a Band D household will pay £1,522.76 a year, compared with £1,493.12 last year.
Extra charges apply for communities in Sheffield with a parish or town council – Stocksbridge, Ecclesfield and Bradfield.
The increase – along with £63 million in cuts – was debated at a marathon council meeting at Sheffield Town Hall yesterday.
Opposition Liberal Democrat members called for the council to take a freeze grant from the Government in their budget amendment, which also called for the return of axed grit bins and cutting trade union convenors.
Coun Colin Ross, opposition leader, said: “We are proposing we take £1.9m from the Government, rather than out of the pockets of Sheffield people.”
Green councillors also put forward an amendment – suggesting a referendum be held so council tax could be raised to 2.95 per cent, with the extra money raised to be used towards services.
Coun Robert Murphy said: “On the NHS in opposition, Labour says no privatisation. On Sheffield Council, it is putting dementia day care services out to tender.
“The Green amendment will protect those services.”
UKIP members were criticised for not putting forward their own budget amendment – with one councillor saying it was the ‘biggest mistake’ they had made since being elected last May.
However, Coun John Booker, of UKIP, said: “We’ve decided to listen and learn on this budget and I think you’ll find we made the right decision.”
Councillors traded political blows for more than two hours before a vote on the Labour budget was agreed with 59 councillors in favour, 21 against and one abstention.
Coun Ben Curran, Labour’s cabinet member for finance, said northern councils were being hit harder by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government’s austerity measures than southern ones.
Referring to a quote from Chancellor George Osborne he repeatedly said: “Are we all in this together? No.”
On council tax, he said: “We’ve done our best to keep council tax down. However the Government have shifted the goalposts.”
Public questions asked at the start of yesterday’s meeting also confirmed the council is owed £31m in unpaid council tax, £10.8m from housing tenants and employs seven staff on a salary of more than £100,000 a year.
Ruling Labour councillors said 99 per cent of council tax was eventually collected, it did all it could to recoup money owed by tenants and that it had reduced senior staff payments by £1m.
Cuts in next year’s budget will axe about 200 job posts – some already vacant – plus cultural subsidies, and affect how park maintenance, customer services and care packages are delivered.