Council tax bills to remain 'at national low' despite increase

Residents across Dudley borough will continue to pay some of the lowest council tax bills in the country despite a planned 4.99 per cent increase.

Dudley Council is planning to increase council tax to continue to be able to provide services.

External auditors have said the council’s finances needed attention, like other local authorities across the country. The auditors have indicated weaknesses in the authority’s finances, in a report due to go before the council’s cabinet on January 11th.

In October last year, the council announced a range of precautionary measures amid growing pressures on spending. It included introducing a recruitment freeze, stopping any new contracts, terminating agency and interim contracts and more.

Now the council is proposing to raise more funds by increasing the basic rate of council tax by 2.99 per cent as well as a 2 per cent precept for adult social care, amid a £7.7million overspend in this specific budget due to rising costs to deliver the services. Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

"We have been very clear about the financial position we find ourselves in and we have to do everything we can to deliver a balanced, sustainable budget. Increasing council tax is the right thing to do if we want to continue providing vital services for people.

"We have always been a low taxing, low spending authority which has had a negative impact on our overall finances, something which the audit report has highlighted.

"But local people should rest assured, even with this increase, we are still one of the lowest council tax rates in the country and certainly the lowest in the Black Country."

The proposed rise in council tax equates to a £1.17 per week increase for a typical Band B property, less than the cost of a loaf of bread. Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of the opposition, added:

"It is vital that all local authorities have sufficient government funding to run services and we recognise the significant funding challenges being faced by councils - specifically in Dudley."

The council tax proposals are part of a wider budget consultation for 2024/5 where residents will get to have their say before a decision is taken by a meeting of the whole of the council in spring next year.


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