Leeds council tax payers could face an even bigger rise than expected

Leeds Civic Hall
Leeds Civic Hall
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Leeds council taxpayers could face an inflation-busting five percent rise on their bills - more than the expected four per cent - after the Government forced city finance bosses back to the budget drawing board.

Local councils are set to be allowed to add an extra three per cent to bills next year to help tackle the social care crisis.

The move is expected to be confirmed later today alongside the Local Government Revenue Settlement funding for councils.

Leeds council’s cabinet met last night to ratify its initial budget proposals, but - following the announcement yesterday morning - has now been forced to go away and revise its strategy ahead of February’s budget setting full council meeting.

The authority’s deputy leader councillor James Lewis said the current budget papers were based on a previously announced cap on council tax rises, which included a 1.99 per cent maximum rise set by councils, and a further two percent from the social care precept.

He said the Government was “putting the cost effectively on council taxpayers”, adding that the additional one per cent rise in Leeds would equate to £2.6m.

He welcomed the fact that Minsters were “recognising, finally, the crisis in adult social care” but urged that rather than just hiking bills for families, the Government should commit further grants to plugging shortfalls in the sector.

Leeds City Council says it needs to save £75.3m by 2018 due to a combination of reduced Government funding and pressures on services. The authority says up to £25m of its core Government funding will be cut next year. Around 800 jobs at the council will also be axed, the authority says, bringing the total roles slashed since 2010 to more than 3,000. The council said last week it would work with unions “as far as possible” to minimise compulsory redundancies and redeploy staff.