AN ‘unavoidable but necessary’ decision to raise council tax by 4.49 per cent was formally agreed by Barnsley Council yesterday.
The budget for 2019/20 was approved at the full council meeting at the town hall which saw just one person – Liberal Democrat Coun Hannah Kitching who represents the Penistone West ward – vote against the proposals.
The 4.49 per cent, when broken down, includes 2.99 per cent to help fund general services – such as bin collections, roads and area councils – and 1.5 per cent which will be ring-fenced for adult social care.
Coun Alan Gardiner, cabinet spokesperson for core services, said: “The 2.99 per cent rise will protect vital frontline services which we wouldn’t have been able to provide without council tax going up – it’s unavoidable and equates to 82p per week.
“To be frank, it’s one of the hardest decisions we have had to make as it puts a financial burden on our residents’ shoulders.
“The increase has been kept to an absolute minimum and it has not been taken lightly, but a tipping point has been reached.
Since 2010, the council has made savings of an estimated £107m, including £5.8m which will be made in the next financial year.
Jobs across the council have also been cut by nearly 40 per cent as a knock-on effect, with 36 more potential job losses expected in 2019-20.
The council says it has a stable financial plan in place despite Barnsley being one of the worst-hit places in the country for austerity cuts, although uncertainty about Brexit could continue to impact future government funding for local authorities.