Extra charges loom for residents as Leeds City Council seeks to boost £108m income from fees

Leeds City Council income...
Leeds City Council income...
0
Have your say

Extra charges for things like the scattering of ashes and funeral services that overrun could be imposed on Leeds residents.

New charges suggested in a Leeds City Council report also include more resident and business parking fees and workplace parking levies on firms.

CLICK FOR MORE YEP NEWS HEADLINES

Finance officers from the council have compared the authority’s income from its own fees and charges to that of other core cities to find new ways of increasing its £108.1million income from fees and charges.

Leeds ranks fifth out of the eight ‘core cities’ for the amount it rakes in per head per year in such fees at £207 – Liverpool makes the most at £262.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you

Officers claim bringing the amount it generates from charges up by £3 per head, which would bring it in line with the core cities’ average at £210, would make the council an extra £2.25m every 12 months.

Chief finance officer Doug Meeson told the council’s scrutiny board for strategy and resources yesterday that the inquiry comes as the council expects its Government grants to be slashed further, with extra cuts of around £70m expected over the next four years.

“We were bottom of charges per head [in 2012/13] and there has been some focus on levels of fees and charges,” he said.

“Our aim is really to ensure there is a proper consideration and debate on this.”

The report details the fees and charges put into action by England’s core cities that are not currently in place in Leeds, as well as comparing the amount Leeds charges for certain services. It found Leeds charges less than average for things like allotments, park events, wedding venue licences, temporary traffic regulation orders and room hire at community venues.

At yesterday’s scrutiny meeting councillors suggested reviewing services to schools that are subsidised as well as trialling different levels of fees for services at sports centres.

Coun Barry Anderson singled schools out because they have “been quite well protected in terms of their budgets”.

Earlier this year the council received a £45.4m cut to its budget, meaning that by March 2016, Leeds will have received approximately £180m less in total core funding in five years.

Coun Kim Groves, chair of the scrutiny board, said: “It will be a long detailed inquiry. There are going to be big cross-party decisions. We needed a starting point and this is a starting point for decisions.”

Carl DAmmassa, Group Managing Director  Business Finance, Aldermore

Aldermore supports more than £1bn of asset finance to UK businesses in 2017