Council 'pressing ahead' with proposed five per cent tax hike despite additional government funding in the offing

Lincolnshire County Council is “pressing ahead” with its proposed five per cent increase in council tax, despite central government’s announcement of additional funding for councils across the UK.
Lincolnshire County Council offices | Photo: James TurnerLincolnshire County Council offices | Photo: James Turner
Lincolnshire County Council offices | Photo: James Turner

Although details regarding Lincolnshire’s portion of the funding remain unclear, Michelle Grady, Assistant Director of Strategic Finance, confirmed the council’s commitment to the tax hike during a Highways and Transport Scrutiny Committee meeting on Monday.

If approved, this increase would raise the council tax for Band D properties to £1,578.69 for the 2024/25 period, translating to an additional £55.06 compared to last year, or an extra £1.44 per property each week.

Last week, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove announced an additional £600 million to support UK councils grappling with escalating costs, especially in adult and child social care, allocating £500 million specifically for social care, alongside £100 million in various other funding guarantees and grants.

“Councils have faced cost pressures as a result of high inflation. That is why the prime minister has prioritised halving it,” he said.

“The government has also listened to the sector and to the issues raised by members of the House. For this reason, I am today announcing a wide-ranging package of support for local government.”

However, in Monday’s meeting, Ms Grady described the funding as a “one-year budget announcement” and highlighted that long-term factors, such as the recent increase in the National Living Wage, remain major considerations.

When the funding was initially announced, Council Leader Martin Hill (Conservative) remained reserved about its potential impact on the proposed council tax increase, noting that further details were still pending.

He said: “Any additional funding is, of course, welcome, and we look forward to receiving further details from the government. The council is currently going through its annual budget-setting process and will take this extra money into consideration as part of those discussions.

“However, it’s important to recognise that this is one-off funding, whereas the additional cost pressures we face are a long-term issue.”

Shoppers in Lincoln city centre previously strongly criticised the proposed tax increase, labelling it an “absolute joke.”

Simon Wearmouth, 36, shared that he is already struggling to keep up with his council tax bills, particularly with the recent addition of his six-month-old child and his wife on maternity leave.

He added: “It’s been an absolute nightmare over the past year with the way the world is going.” While acknowledging that many families are facing challenges due to inflation, he advised the council to take a closer look at the situation and assess what is happening.

“I work in the industry looking after families and I see the poverty and how it is affecting children’s mental health,” Simon continued.