Budget approval sees a 4.49% increase to council tax

Residents across Dudley borough will continue to pay one of the lowest council tax rates in the country after budget proposals were approved by full council.

At Monday night’s full council meeting, proposals for a 4.49% rise were approved, with 1.5% going directly to adult social care services and 2.99% going into other services across the council. Bosses say that the majority of households will pay no more than 82p more per week (band B) or the equivalent of a loaf of bread, while for Band D properties it is an extra £1.05.

Despite the increase, borough residents will continue to pay the lowest rate in the West Midlands and one of the lowest in the country. Councillor Steve Clark, cabinet member for finance, said:

“Dudley is a low-taxing, low-spending council and we need to become fully financially sustainable in the face of funding reductions from central government. As our central government funding reduces, so our dependence on locally generated income rises.  

“That is why it is important that we invest in making Dudley a place where people want to live and work, and create the environment for a busy thriving commerce.

“Over the next three years, an additional £2.8m will be invested into the Place Directorate, including money to improve our streets and green spaces, extend free parking to two hours across the borough and secure the future of school crossing patrols

“At the same time, we want are provide for the growing numbers of the most vulnerable in our borough, with a further £9.8m into the People Directorate, including money for growing numbers of older people, including those with dementia, services to  looked after children and the transfer of complex care for people with learning disabilities.

Savings of £5.6million have also been identified across the council over the three years as plans continue to rationalise the use of buildings and release land for regeneration and the way the council does business is streamlined. Councillor Clark added:

“No council wants to increase council tax, but this small increase is the right thing to do for our residents. We’ve already made significant savings, but we still need to invest in our services.

"Even with this increase, we are still setting the lowest council tax in the West Midlands and one of the lowest in the country.”

However one local resident, who didn't want to be named, told us she didn't agree with the increase, or the councils reasoning behind it. She said:

"For months, if not years, now we've been told that funding cuts from central government are the reason behind increases in council tax and cuts to services. Isn't it about time the council stopped passing those cuts onto the residents and tried to find ways to raise money instead?

"Many high ranking officers are on large pay packets - maybe that's a good place to start? The Chief Executive alone earns more than the Prime Minister - how is that right?"


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