Kingston Council will introduce a nearly four per cent rise in council tax following government cuts from its revenue support grant.
Over the Christmas holidays the government announced that £2.6m more would be cut from the council’s funding.
In a January statement announcing the rise, Kevin Davis, leader of Kingston Council, said: “It gives me no pleasure to say that the government has got this wrong but at short notice it is impossible to re-open the Treasury’s financial coffers.
“We are an innovative administration that has found groundbreaking ways to reduce expenditure but this additional £2.6m announcement at Christmas has been too much to find at short notice.”
Kingston Council predicts that over the next four years the government will cut nearly £20m from its revenue support grant, meaning savings of £14.8m need to be found.
The council will levy a new special ‘social care precept’ to fund older and vulnerable people’s care, which was introduced in George Osborne’s November spending review. The precept allows councils to further increase council tax by up to two per cent and has no impact on the amount that core council tax can be raised.
Additionally, the council will raise core council tax by 1.99 per cent – the highest possible rise without requiring a vote.
In total council tax will be increased by 3.99 per cent from April 2016. To make up the rest of the shortfall, the Council will make £12.2m worth of savings on services.
On the Kingston Council website, Councillor David Glasspool, Treasury Cabinet Member, said: “We will now be sharing our budget plans with the community at our forthcoming budget conversations, scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. These conversations will help shape not just this budget but inform the outcomes against which we judge future proposals.”