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West Norfolk Council plans council tax rise as budget freezes car park charges

West Norfolk councillors will consider budget proposals for the year ahead later today, amid warnings of a potential £4 million budget gap and renewed uncertainty over future funding.

The borough council is proposing a £4.50 increase in its share of council tax for an average band D home in 2021-22.

And many service charges are also set to rise, although it is proposed that car parking costs are frozen.

King's Court, Borough Council of West Norfolk.. (43755272)
King's Court, Borough Council of West Norfolk.. (43755272)

The council has published its financial plan ahead of a joint panel session to examine the measures this afternoon.

It proposes that its annual share of council tax will go up from £130.37 in 2020-21 to £134.87 for a band D home. The borough receives around seven per cent of the total council tax.

Car parking charges are set to remain unchanged, along with entry fees to attractions such as Stories of Lynn.

But there will be increases in the cost of many other council-run services, including the hire of venues such as the St George’s Guildhall and Lynn Town Hall.

And officials have warned of the challenges posed by an estimated budget gap of just over £4 million and further delays to a decision on the future structure of local government funding streams.

The report said: "The council can present a funded budget for three years of the medium term financial plan.

"However, the General Fund Balance will be depleted to the minimum reserve level in 2024/2025 and there remains an estimated budget gap of £4,099,800 which will need to be addressed.

"Alongside this, there is also significant uncertainty from 2022/2023 onwards. This is due to a combination of financial impact of the pandemic on the local economy and how long it will take to recover from this as well as the decision by Government to add further delay to the implementation of the reforms to the business rates retention scheme and the Fair Funding Review.

"The council is placed in a difficult position in being unable to determine with any certainty the future funding position beyond 2021/2022, which is a considerable downside risk."

The joint panel meeting will take place at 4.45pm today and will be streamed on the authority's YouTube channel.

The budget proposals will then go before the council's ruling cabinet next week, with a final decision expected at a full council meeting in late February.

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