West Norfolk Council plans £4 rise in average council tax charge

GV of  the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
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West Norfolk Council has published budget plans which could see it raise its portion of council tax by £4 for an average home this spring.

The proposals, which are due to be debated at a meeting next week, suggest bigger increases in subsequent years, and warn at least £2.6 million of savings will still be needed.

Fees for services including hall bookings and funeral charges also look set to rise, although parking charges are likely to be frozen.

And the report warns of “significant risks” in the future from changes in funding structures.

Although most district councils can only raise their share of council tax by two per cent, West Norfolk can add up to an extra £5 to its charge for a band-D home, as it is among the lowest charging authorities in the country.

Its financial plan, covering the period up to 2021, includes a £4 rise for a band-D home in the 2017-18 financial year, taking the borough’s share of their annual tax bills to £116.87.

If approved, residents in other tax bands will see their bills rise in proportion to that figure, around 3.4 per cent.

Further £4.50 increases are proposed for band-D residents for each of the following three years.

The report also warns the council will need to make a further £2.6 million of savings over the plan period, with that figure potentially rising depending on the outcome of a review of business rates.

Officials say the council can still present a balanced budget.

But the report conceded there were risks relating to proposals to allow councils to retain their business rates, as current central government grants are phased out.

The report said: “The significant risk is from 2020-2021.

“The detailed arrangements for the implementation of the new 100% Business Rates Retention scheme are not known and the re-set of the baseline may mean that the council does not retain all the growth currently included in the plan.”

The borough council accounts for about seven per cent of residents’ total council tax bills.

Norfolk County Council has already announced plans for a 4.8 per cent increase in its share, while the county’s police and crime panel will decide whether to raise its share next Thursday.

The borough’s budget will be considered at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and by the full council on February 23.