District council approves ‘affordable’ tax increase

Pathfinder House, home of Huntingdonshire District Council.

Pathfinder House, home of Huntingdonshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdonshire District Council has voted to raise its share of the council tax for the first time since 2013.

The move, approved at a full council meeting last Wednesday (February 22), will mean householders in the district living in an average Band D property will have to pay £135.84 a year, up from £133.18 – an increase of two per cent.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Jonathan Gray, executive councillor strategic resources, said: “There is a huge amount of work that has been accomplished over the last 12 months and we have made significant progress.

“For the first time in four years this budget proposes an increase. I am very reluctant to introduce any increase but we have made sure they are affordable for the people of this district,” said Cllr Gray.

The council tax increase comes as the authority predicts there will be a significant drop off in the amount of grants it receives from the Government.

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Councillor Robin Howe, leader of the council, said: “We have also reflected the incomes of local people and these include average wage growth of 4.3 per cent and a pensions minimum increase of 2.5 per cent. The council continues to work extremely hard to make savings whilst still providing quality services that our residents expect.”

As a part of the increase and the savings made, the council has been able to take on some of the responsibility for grass cutting from Cambridgeshire County Council, at a cost of £70,000.

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“We have taken on the areas that somebody else wasn’t very interested in doing. It sent back into the breach the level of service they [residents] are expecting. People are expecting the grass to be done; the county council couldn’t do it, the district council can do it,” added Cllr Gray.

The authority will also implement a scheme costing £25,000 to remove unauthorised posters and £722,000 towards homelessness including increased costs to bed and breakfast establishments, along with additional temporary accommodation.

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