Hartlepool council tax rise of 3.9% looks set to be agreed

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

A 3.9% hike in council tax looks set to be approved this week as council chiefs blame a huge cut in Government funding and a shift in national policy.

A report to a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday outlines that Hartlepool will lose almost £4.5million in Government grant for 2016/17 – a reduction of 17.9%.

This is on top of the £3.8million the authority will lose in Business Rates from April after Hartlepool Power Station appealed against the amount of Business Rates it should pay.

Hartlepool Borough Council has frozen Council Tax for the last five years – the only Tees Valley council to do so – but the report says that a change in Government policy means that the era of Council Tax freezes are now over.

For the 2016/17 financial year, the Government’s settlement announcement assumes that local councils will increase the level of Council Tax by 3.9% per annum – which includes the Government’s new 2% Social Care Levy.

The report shows that a 3.9% increase will result in the large majority of households, 72% in Bands A and B, facing an increase of 83p per week. For the 96% of households receiving Local Council Tax Support, the increase will be no more than 10p per week.

Council leader, Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, said: “I believe that the budget we are proposing is prudent and the use of one-off resources will enable us to protect frontline services and ensure no compulsory redundancies.

“There’s no doubt that the recent grant settlement was ruthless and extremely harsh on people of Hartlepool, but we’ll continue to remain positive and work tirelessly to ensure that 
the town continues to prosper.

“Indeed, it is for all councillors to give consideration to the budget proposals at our meeting next Thursday and I look forward to a healthy and constructive debate.”

The full council meeting takes place in the Civic Centre starting at 7pm and the public are welcome to attend.