Council tax increase for residents in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth as budget is approved

Councillors voted unanimously in favour and also gave their backing to the new budget presented at tonight’s [Wednesday] full council meeting

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 10:33 pm

Warwick District Council’s portion of council tax will increase by £5 on an average band D property from the beginning of April.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour and also gave their backing to the new budget presented at tonight’s [Wednesday] full council meeting.

It will mean the band D council tax charge for 2021/22 before the addition of parish/town councils, Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner precepts will be £176.86.

Warwick District Council’s portion of council tax will increase by £5 on an average band D property from the beginning of April.
Warwick District Council’s portion of council tax will increase by £5 on an average band D property from the beginning of April.

In presenting the budget and proposing the council tax increase, Cllr Richard Hales (Con, Kenilworth Abbey and Arden), portfolio holder for business and finance, said: “This is a budget that enables us to deliver the same level of service to residents while dealing with the drop in income through parking charges and concession fees as well as the increased expenditure because of Covid.”

Cllr Trevor Wright (Con, Cubbington and Leek Wootton) added: “We all need to realise that we are going to go into uncharted territory over the next 12 months or so in as much as we don’t know how employment will pan out, we don’t know how the levels of income into the council will come out and we don’t know how many people may need support in that period of time.

“I think this budget is fair and as balanced as it possibly can be.”

Both the budget and council tax were approved unanimously but Cllr Geraldine Cullinan (Lab, Leamington Clarendon) asked that extra help be given to those struggling to meet the extra cost of council tax and other bills.

She said: “A lot of residents in the pandemic are experiencing a lot of serious financial difficulties. Some of those furloughed have been left with only 80 per cent of a minimum or low wage.

“The residents of Warwick District Council spend the highest proportion of their salary on rent in the West Midlands at 43.2 per cent. This puts enormous pressure on their other household bills such as council tax.

“Can we mitigate that funds can be found in addition to those already there in the hardship fund to support people at this very difficult time?”

Cllr Hales said he realised times were difficult for many residents and businesses and that they were likely to get tougher.

He added: “All of us as councillors recognise the challenges that our residents are going to have. I don’t think that whatever we put aside will ever be enough. We will do our best for our residents but, to be candid, we won’t be able to help everyone - but I do think it is important that we try to help those hardest hit.”