Saturday, 28 November 2009

Council tax "hard to keep down"

SOLIHULL Metropolitan Borough Council will struggle to keep council tax rises below 3 per cent next year, its leader has warned.

Councillor Ken Meeson, right, spoke after it was announced that the council will get a 1.5 per cent increase in Government cash help next year.

It will get £54.8m for 2010/11, up from £53.9m this year. This is mostly raised from business rates.

Cllr Meeson told The Birmingham Post that more demand on adult and children social services, especially after the Baby P case, was putting a strain on budgets.

This means the council may have no alternative but to cut services and raise the council tax to pay for it.

This year the council increased its share of the final bill by 4.5 per cent, £49.44, to £1,147.94.

Most of the cash the council spends comes from the council tax bill, £102.6m this year.

The rest of the bill goes to West Midlands Police (£97.98) and West Midlands Fire Service (£46.90). Some areas pay a further charge to parish councils. More details here.

At the time this year’s bill was announced, the council said it got the lowest Government grant of any metropolitan council in England.

The final bill will be agreed in March.