Lancaster City Council agrees council tax increase

Lancaster City Council is set to increase its portion of council tax by an average of £5 a year, or 2.16 per cent.

By Nick Lakin
Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 2:33 pm

After the exclusion of the parish precept, the city council’s portion is 12% of the total council tax bill, with the remainder going to Lancashire County Council (73%), the Lancashire Police Authority (11%) and the Lancashire Combined Fire Authority (4%).

It is understood that Lancashire County Council is considering increasing council tax by 4.99%, police by 7.09% and fire by 1.99%.

In total this would increase the annual cost of council tax on an average Band D property by around £91 a year.

The council agreed the increase at a meeting last week.

A final decision on these three elements of council tax is yet to be made.

The Lancaster City Council rise, which was agreed last Wednesday (January 27), aims to support existing council services for residents and businesses as the district starts to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council said that throughout the Covid-19 pandemic it has provided an extensive network of support, including working closely with Morecambe Bay Foodbank, Eggcup, and other food groups to make sure no one goes hungry.

Support has also been provided to businesses with 8,700 payments being made, totalling £43.3m, to help them cope with the effects of Covid-19, and 18,000 line of enquiries have been responded to since March last year.

The rise in council tax will also help to fund other council priorities, including its response to tackling the climate emergency and improving the local economy.

Coun Anne Whitehead, cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “We are acutely aware of the additional burden that this rise will place on some households and we do not want to have to ask households to pay more.

“But as with all public services, the city council is under pressure financially and needs to protect the vital services it provides, particularly those which are doing so much to support the community during the pandemic and beyond.

“For those households that are struggling to pay their council tax we have a range of support on offer.

"This includes our localised council tax support scheme which provides up to 100% support to households on low incomes.”

Lancaster City Council is one of the few remaining councils in the country to maintain a Council Tax Support Scheme which provides up to 100% support to households on low incomes.

Other options for residents struggling to pay their Council Tax include revised instalment plans and deferred payments, where appropriate.

The £5 rise is for those in a Band D property.

As 80% of the district's homes are in the lowest bands (A to C) the actual increase will be even lower than £5 for the majority of households.

While as the billing authority Lancaster City Council collects Council Tax, it only receives around 12% of the total bill to spend on its services which include the collection of waste and recycling, parks and open spaces, street cleaning and environmental health.

Any residents that need help or advice as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic can find more information about the support which is on offer by visiting council’s website at Lancaster.gov.uk/coronavirus or calling the Community Hub on 01524 582000.