North Somerset Council raises tax by six per cent – but social care services still face cuts

PUBLISHED: 16:00 26 February 2018

Protestors outside the Town Hall ahead of the budget, which was decided the same night the council agreed to the commerical sale.

Protestors outside the Town Hall ahead of the budget, which was decided the same night the council agreed to the commerical sale.

Archant

Council tax will rise in North Somerset by six per cent this year, but cuts have still been made to children’s centres and adult social care.

Weston Town Hall, protest against car parking hikes and budget cuts.Weston Town Hall, protest against car parking hikes and budget cuts.

North Somerset Council confirmed its budget for the year on February 20, having made £11million in savings.

This is on top of £90million in savings in its budget since 2010, because of reductions in Government funding.

Protestors gathered at the Town Hall in Weston ahead of the meeting, chanting ‘no more cuts to council funding’.

Critics have argued the cuts would harm the most vulnerable, while council leader Nigel Ashton said the authority has been left with no choice but to make difficult decisions.

He said: “The difficulty is we are taking decisions we don’t think we should be taking because of the financial situation.”

Council tax will rise by 2.99 per cent next month, plus another three per cent ringfenced for adult social care.

It means people living in an average band D property will pay £1,341.61, an increase of £75.80.

Adult social care and children’s services costs equate to nearly 60 per cent of the authority’s budget.

Amendment one - adult social care

Before the meeting, the council learned the Government would provide an additional £577,000 for adult social care. In an amendment to the budget, Labour’s Denise Hunt called for half of the grant to be spent on housing support, to reverse some of the cuts being made in that area.

It is estimated 226 people will no longer receive access to housing support as a result of the loss of funding. The Conservative group chose to keep it aside as a contingency and the amendment was rejected.

Cllr Ashton said: “We shall be spending it. It is better to keep it during this year on things that will arise, which we are not aware of, and we have something for back up.”

Amendment two - children’s centres.

Cllr Deborah Yamanaka, from the Liberal Democrats, argued spending the money would save the council cash in the future.

She said: “It is a preventative measure and to stop part of the cut here would prevent greater spending later on if disabled people and others at risk of domestic abuse are not helped in time.”

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