4% Leeds council tax rise expected to be approved today

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Leeds City Council bosses are expected to rubber-stamp a four per cent council tax increase at a meeting this afternoon.

If approved, the Band D council tax charge for an average Band D property will increase by up to £1,215.54 a year.

The hike includes an increase of 1.99 per cent to the basic Leeds levy plus the new Adult Social Care precept of two per cent.

With the addition of West Yorkshire Police and fire service precepts, families with a Band D property will see their total bill go up to £1,421.20 a year.

A report to be debated by councillors at the full council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall this afternoon says: “The financial year 2016/17 is the fourth year since major changes to the funding arrangements for local government came into effect.”

The report adds the increase is “not excessive” in the context of new Government funding arrangements and limits.

Laying out the proposals, leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake warned earlier that “austerity is not over, another incredibly difficult year lies ahead”.

She added: “We still face another incredibly difficult year in Leeds for public services, which will mean more very tough decisions to come.

“More difficult discussions and decisions lie ahead, but we are committed to being a compassionate city with a strong economy and I continue to have the utmost confidence in the resilience of the people of Leeds to meet this challenge.”

The initial budget report detailing the council’s financial position for the next financial year warned of further cuts of £24m to Government core funding, with an overall funding gap of £87.2m.

It added to the more than £180m already slashed from the city’s purse, a drop of more than 40 per cent since 2010.

Families have been told to expect a further 30 per cent shortfall by 2019/20.

The Chancellor’s 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement announced the introduction of a new power for local authorities to increase council tax by up to a further two per cent to spent exclusively on adult social care.

Any councils wanting to increase council tax by more are obliged to hold a local referendum.

See more updates on the budget debate from 1pm today. Follow live updates from the meeting on Twitter @LeedsNews.