Council tax up but so is members’ pay by £222 from April

Lincolnshire County Council.
Lincolnshire County Council.
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Council tax payers in South Holland, Bourne, the Deepings and villages south of Boston will see their bills rise by just over £20 from April 1.

The rise by almost two per cent, the first increase for five years, was agreed by Lincolnshire County Council members by 41 votes to 26 at a meeting on Friday.

But councillors themselves will see a rise in their pay of £222 in 2015-16, a 2.2 per cent increase on the current financial year, giving them a basic allowance of just over £10,322 - if they individually decide to take it.

The pay rise was voted through by 42 to eight, with 16 abstentions, but county council leader Martin Hill said: “If any particular member doesn’t want to take the suggested allowance, they aren’t forced to.”

Despite the council tax rise expecting to bring in about £4 million in 2015-16 and the council using £22 million of its own savings, cuts of more than £30 million will still be made to plug a £56 million budget gap.

Spending will be protected in areas such as the county’s fire and rescue service and flood risk management.

Coun Marc Jones, the council’s executive member for finance, said: “The budget for the next year takes a sensible and pragmatic approach so we can continue providing the best possible services to people in the face of growing demand and further financial uncertainty.

“Through careful housekeeping, we have built reserves up over the years because when times were better, we saved for a rainy day.

“This budget uses some of these funds to meet our financial challenges in the short term, but we can’t be complacent as our savings can only be spent once.

“We’ve come up with a sustainable budget, it’s fit for purpose and it’s been very well-thought through.”